Babolna – Historic Essay 1880


“On the 10th of September I visited Babolna, about 20 miles
from Kisber, also situated in the Comitat de Komarom. The
estate comprises about 8000 acres. This stud was founded in
1789, and is confined exclusively to the breeding of horses ot
Arab descent. We find here no English thorough or half-bred,
but only the Eastern type.

There are eight home-stallions, as follows:
Arab imported 1 „
home-bred 4 „
half-bred, dam uncertain 2
Wurtemberger 1
Total 8

Some of the crosses employed in former years were with
Spanish and Neapolitan horses, to correct the great fault of the
Arab, viz. want of action ; but the cross has not, on the whole.
been successful. The stallions are fine specimens of the Eastern
breeds, but want action. They have low shoulders and “toe
the ground.” I was somewhat surprised that horses possessing-
good action were not retained. They are rare, it is true, but
they are to be found.

The prevailing colour here is grey ; in fact, it may be taken
for granted that all the grey horses met with in this part are
of Arab extraction. There are 26 mares said to be of pure
Arab blood, and 100 half-breds. The best-known names
amongst the imported sires in connection with this stud are, ”
Shagya,” ” Radban,” ” Amerath,” ” Bojraktar,” ” Jussuf,” and ”
Mehemet Ali;” and one or other of these names will be
found in the pedigrees of most of the Arab stock serving in the

The brood-mares were running at large; and I must confess
I was greatly disappointed with them. There was scarcely one
with a good shoulder ; as usual with the Arab, low forehand, no
action, and small. Of course they all show high breeding, and
their powers of endurance cannot be called in question; but
they certainly are not up to weight, and they contrast unfavourably
with the English breeds. During several years’ residence
in Bombay, I had ample opportunities of knowing thoroughly
the Arab and Eastern type of horse generally, For hot countries
and scant pasturage they would, of course, hold their own, where
the English breed would decay and ultimately vanish; and on
this account the breed is invaluable in semi-tropical countries
like many parts of Hungary. At all events, the heat of summer,
as I could testify, is very great, and the climate, pasturage, trees,
fruits, and corn, as well as the appearance of the country generally
dry, sandy, and burnt-up—are more like what one sees
in parts of India. In temperate climes, with good keep, the
Arab in time grows into what we see in our own stock ; but
the English horse never, in hot countries, holds his own with
the Arab—he declines, degenerates, and disappears.
Foals bred at Babolna are branded thus

on the near quarter, but the pure-bred foals—that is, by imported sire
and dam—have the brand

on the near side under the saddle, with an addition, thus I inspected the young stock, as follows :

Two-year-old colts 28
fillies 39
Yearling colts 36
fillies 22
Total 125
Foals of the year—colts 40 „
fillies 38
Total 78

I saw a number of four-year-old fillies that were about to be
sold at the customary annual auction. They were very neat,
round, compact animals, about 14’2 to 15 hands; but there was
no action or style about them, and they seemed better adapted
for harness than the saddle. 115 mares produced 97 foals.
The pasturage is better about here than it is at Mezohegyes;
the ground lies low and the water lodges.

As regards soundness, the home-stallions were far from perfect.
I noticed one quite a cripple on his fore-feet, and another very
badly spavined.”