The realization of the DARHORSE breeding center preceded the idea of the first Central European breeding facility being able to compete with the top Western European breeders of Thoroughbreds. With regard to that idea, it was necessary to abandon the current practice and try to apply Western European and North American standards in the Czech conditions.
It would be very easy and primary also silly to criticize or mock the breeding practices, which is, to a certain extent, the heritage of the time behind the Iron Curtain. We are deeply convinced that the majority of the Czech breeders are the determined people who are devoted to horses. They sacrificed, sacrifice and will sacrifice almost everything for the care and breeding of horses. On the other hand, those people are missing the elementary material and technical conditions .
The breeding of horses in our country is not and has never been such a big business. In the context of the continuous work the horse breeders have difficulty finding the space for their managerial growth. On the other hand, the strong capital owners have invested such a large amount of money quite pragmatically in the purchase of horses of foreign provenience, which the Czech breeding cannot compete in quality . This situation has led to a spiral of death, which reduces horse breeding to a mere struggle for a survival, in which there is no place for the conceptual breeding work and necessary investment.
From that point of view it is not possible to criticize the current tragic level of the Czech breeding, but it is needed to appreciate mostly the fact that there still exists any breeding . The basic prerequisite for the realization of an European competitively capable breeding center of Thoroughbreds was to find a suitable location that would meet the following parameters:
- the warmest region with at least moderate rainfall,
- the high-quality farmland of the moderate features,
- the possiblity of creating an unique grazing area of min. 300 ha with the permanent fixed fences and at least partial irrigation,
- the possibility of creating a stable and technical complex following the pastures of min. 200000 m2,
- the grazing areas without the presence of any interfering impacts on a breeding horse center ( surrounding buildings , roads, railways , etc.),
- the air quality,
- the good transport links.
From the above mentioned it was clear that in the Czech Republic the existing breeding facilities did not meet the above requirements and were not able to meet them objectively. Under those circumstances, it was necessary to find a suitable location that would meet those requirements. After its finding on a boundary line between Roudnice nad Labem and the village of Krabčice in 2010, the construction of a new breeding center was started. You can read about finding that place in the article Path under Rip.
Path under Rip
The DARHORSE Center is located under the magical mountain Rip, which belongs to the symbols of Czech statehood, in Krabčice at Roudnice. To find that place there was no simple way. I will try to explain to you how that happened.
In 2008 I started with a team of colleagues to find a suitable location for horse breeding in the Czech Republic. The criteria for choosing that location were as follows :
- The mildest climatic conditions guaranteeing pastures the longest period of vegetative growth and sufficient rainfall,
- The moderate soil up to moderately severe one in high quality,
- The possibility of creating the own and spatially coherent land size of about 300 ha,
- The possibility of creating the stable and technical complex<> following the pastures of min. size of 200000 m2,
- The elevation of about 200 m eliminating flooding, frost and extreme hot weather,
- The air quality,
- The transport services.
It was obvious that such a place could only be found in the catchment area of the river Elbe and in the region Hana. Regarding the fact of intensive cooperation with Western European breeders and owners the cachment area of the Elbe was prioritized. Subsequently the area from Kolín to Litoměřice was explored in detail.
It was very enlightening to see how mapping the intersection of the above mentioned requirements reduced that vast area to fewer than forty small islands that were necessary to explore in detail. When such a place was seemed to find, I ran into the various developing plans of municipalities counting with the establishing photovoltaic power plants , logistics centers or residential buildings. In some cases, the major obstacle was the closeness of interfering figures such as railways , roads , airports, quarries , agricultural and industrial operations or residential areas. In other cases I met the unwilling owners of agricultural land to sell or rent for a long term.
After the two-year-old completely hopeless search for a suitable location, my friend told me that his good friends, the family Masek, formerly the largest landholders under Rip, were considering the sale of their farm, including the extensive grounds. I do not know whether it was the coincidence or fate, but at the time when the information was given to me, the area under Rip was our last location that had not been explored. At the same time we considered that area in the whole catchment of the river Elbe to be the best for our intention. Although it was necessary to close hundreds of other agreements, the agreement with the family Masek was the cornerstone of the project DARHORSE.
I would like to thank not only that family but also all the original owners of lands and buildings for their good will and understanding with our project. It was not much later when I exaggerated that I could have saved a lot of work if I had started a search for a location with the best place having in my mind because it had been enough to learn from our history. The forefather Cech could have choosen any place in the Central region for his people and their settlement. He chose Rip and its surroundings and certainly he knew why he had done so.
After two years living here, personally I can say I completely understand his choice.
Ing. Rostislav Kopecký