Malopolski is a versatile horse, standing 16 hands and often a few more inches. Created by nature in the steppes of Eastern Europe, thus being able to gallop freely and change location often, according to conditions. This gave us an intelligent horse, well balanced mentally and physically , brave and responsible for his herd.
Malopolski is generally healthy, with a very good digestive system, good feed efficiency, can cope with many situations and circumstances, too difficult for other breeds. It is not a fancy, recently produced breed, although named in 1962 by Polish authorities after the valuable type of the horses living in south east Poland, geographically called Malopolska (often translated Littlepoland, Lesserpoland).
This type of horse is present in the east of Poland and further east as far as Eastern Europe is stretching to the Ural Mountains, since Equs Caballus appeared there, as a first location of the species of the horse on the Earth and became modified by steppe specific conditions. Local habitants, using these horses, breeding and training them, had shaped today’s horses of their lands. The first Polish king, Mieszko the First, had a light army of 3,000 men mounted on these horses at the end of the first Millenium. Polish horses flourished and in 16 century, it was the best mount in Europe. German text cited that Polish horse, bought for the army was at 30 years old , still able to be used for the war, never ill, few times wounded in action. 2,000 were exported every year, mainly by small breeders, as every land owner, small or large, was practically breeding his stock. It was not unheard of, that a village horse had beaten the mount of a nobleman in an accidental race.
For centuries Polish armies were gathering in need, from private estates, these home bred horses. While in the time of the peace, they were employed for general work and riding and driving, during the wars and local incidents on mainly the eastern borders, flanking by the free steppe until 18 century ,our horses were fantastic and speedy fighters ,not afraid of any terrain. Some Malopolski are known to defend their owner and I myself had a thrilling surprise, when my own Jung , delivered a caprriolla 3 times ,while free lunging, when I was frightened by group of people invading the next paddock. That was directed at the strangers and with the short, shouting like neighing.
In the past, horse mounted armies and groups were often invading Polish frontiers and settlers in the free steppe. Most of them on the best stallions they could find at home, sometimes far away, proven in long distance riding and war games. These stallions, when captured, were bred with Polish mares, introducing the best characteristics of other nation's horses to our local type. Of course it was sporadic, so the main phenotype and genotype stayed rather similar for ages. It is that base of locally bred horse, which is the oldest, strongest and the best part of Malopolski horse of today. To compare, Mustangs , horses of different types imported to America by the colonists, have dropped all fancy differences and in fact became very similar to their earliest ancestors on the Eastern European steppe, as the conditions are the same and the same characteristics were needed to survive and thrive there.
In fact I had observed on the farm in Dusseldorf, home bred Quarter horses, derived from Mustangs, of pure American lines and they were not unlike rather small Malopolski. So coming back to the imported stallions, first through the wars and trade, oriental horses were introduced: Arabian, Turkmenistan-Achalteke, Kabardian, Karabagh, Turkoman, Persian .Tarpan was associated long before and Mongolian later, but also before oriental influence.
From around 18 century, rich enthusiasts were importing Arabians, later English Thorougbreds and other newer breeds of western Europe were introduced to large private studs and horses bred for the army. Later horse from Austro-Hungary like Gidran, Przedswit and Shagya offsprings were introduced, giving stronger bone and again partly oriental type. All the time, south east Polish horses were representing the old type, refined by the introductions.
Mostly the influence of horses bloodlines was spreading from the east and south to the west. Recently only Arabian and English Thoroughbred horses were allowed to be introduced to Malopolski and some Malopolski have also the status of Anglo Arab. Polish Anglo Arabs are campaigned like that, in western Europe, where Malopolski is relatively unknown as a name. Even winning Anglo-Arab breed Championships in Germany and France, these Polish Anglo Arabs are still Malopolski .
It is a pity that more PR is not given to this fabulous native Polish breed, which gave great stallions to several famous breeds like Holsteiner, after Malopolski stallion Ramzes was brought from Poland in 1943 to this stud and he and his famous offsprings gave it masses of quality. After all, Polish excellent breeders meet at breed Championships in their own society and compare their Malopolski horses from private and state studs ( see PSO BIALKA for Malopolski Horse Junior Championship 16th and 17th July 2016 and also 10th and 11th June 2017) , and compete in international sport events and win,but remain modest. Tarnik , the father of British olympian's horse ,Tamarillo riden by William Fox-Pitt was Malopolski, and Cean O'Connor, Irish olympian , was given one to ride. Earlier Polish showjumping champion Jan Kowalski won gold in National Polish Championships on Ronceval, Artemor , Darlet, all Malopolski horses. Darlet won 18 International Championships . Olympic Gold was won in Moscow by Kowalczyk with Artemor - the film from this fabulous moment is captured from arial view , live on the internet. There are more recent wins, described on the website of Polish Associacion of Malopolski Horse Breeders pzhkm.pl and Lublin Association of Horse Breeders lzhk.pl , which have lots of photos of the breed- static and in action.
Historically and now Malopolski are associated with action. It is the best eventer, good showjumper, carriage horse with many wins in this sport, can pull a cart with goods for the market 160 km and return in 2 days on asphalt with the family, work for hippotherapy, riding school, cross country where he excels, and still all work around the smallholding farm. He is never losing the pride and always watching after you, like with our King Jan III Sobieski , grandfather of Bonny Prince Charlie, when about 30,000 Malopolski horses with cavalry and infantry defended Vienna from the Turks in 1683, after one month siege.