A Legacy of Leopards

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One of Pax's many offspring. Alivia Christina Photography

It’s easy to pick a Knabstrupper out of the crowd.  The Danish breed is an instant head-turner, featuring beautiful and unique coloring from solid to full leopard spotted coats, and everything in between.  We are celebrating this breed as our April Breed of the Month on YourDressage! Join us all month long as we celebrate Knabstruppers with photo galleries and exclusive stories!

Dressage riders who choose Knabstruppers as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All Breeds Awards program as the Knabstrupperforeningen for Danmark (KNN) is a participating organization.

We recently asked our social media followers to share stories about what makes these horses so special.  Here, a breeder shares about why she likes this breed, and the special stallion in her barn with a 100% track record of producing leopard coated foals. 

By Renee Tucci

Along with my husband, we own Murder Hollow Farm, which is a 100-acre estate nestled in the beautiful countryside of Chester County, Pennsylvania. What began as a simple endeavor, to produce an athletic and colorful equine partner, has grown into one of the country’s most renowned Knabstrupper breeding programs.

Pax. Note: USDF Strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted.

While I grew up riding, I ended up taking a few years off in high school but found myself back in the saddle in my early twenties while living in Ireland. I always had an appreciation for colorful horses and searched long and hard for the perfect Knabstrupper. Knowing I wanted to include the breed in my breeding program, I began what turned out to be a rather long hunt to find the perfect stallion. We purchased our first Knabstrupper stallion, Pax Asgard af Pegasus when he was coming two years old and I am beyond thankful that we had the opportunity to own such a special horse. Pax has quickly become one of the most prolific sires of high quality Knabstrupper offspring in North America and has brought attention to our small breed.

Dressage at Devon

Pax is incredibly versatile, standing at 16.3 hh, he is ridden under saddle in dressage and working equitation, as well as driven in harness. Pax is homozygous for LP and PATN1, which means he always produces genetically leopard offspring when bred to a solid color mare. The breed standard places an emphasis on color – solid colored stallions may only be bred to Knabstrupper mares who are of leopard color in order to produce Main Book offspring. Owning a stallion that is able to breed to both solid and leopard colored mares – and not just Knabstruppers but also approved outcrosses such as Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds – was important to us as the majority of North American breeders are breeding outcross mares. Pax has been everything I could ever dream of in a stallion – not only does he add color, but he’s producing incredibly well. We are universally hearing praise from breeders on the outstanding type and temperament of their Pax offspring and in his first breeding season, he produced multiple Premium foals. He has consistently produced correct and quality type with lovely gaits and long legs.

With a canine friend

We have enjoyed developing Pax from an awkward 2-year-old to the stallion he is today. In 2021, Pax competed in the Get of Sire class at the world-renowned Dressage at Devon earning a Bronze with a collective mark of 77.15 points to finish behind serial winner KWPN sire Sir Sinclair and the 7-year-old Oldenburg stallion Davos CF and beating out several traditional Warmblood stallions. This was a huge accomplishment for a rare breed and non-traditional Warmblood.

Pax is still young and has just begun his dressage career – managing a busy breeding book and showing has proven to make scheduling shows a bit of a challenge, but we are excited to get him out to more USDF shows this season.

We have since imported additional Knabstrupper bloodlines to North America and look forward to continuing producing exceptional, athletic, and well-mannered horses. By utilizing cutting edge reproductive technology such as embryo transfer and ICSI, we are able to breed top performance mares – many of which have produced top international performance offspring including Olympians. Our foals are bred in the highest standard of quality and have been selected by professional Grand Prix riders as well as amateur competitors looking for a sane, sound, and athletic riding partner.

One of Pax’s offspring.

For those looking to stand out, the Knabstrupper is a wonderful breed that offers a fabulous temperament with a little extra flash.

Want to read more about Pax at the 2021 Devon Breed Show? Check out this great article from eurodressage.

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