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Romania’s oldest stud farm, which enjoys worldwide recognition, is in Radauti – Suceava County, right at the entry of the town, near the Bogdana Monastery.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

In 1792, the Austrian government established the Radauti Stud under the name ‘Landesgestuetts — und Remontierungs Departement in der Bucowina zu Radautz’ / ‘The Country Stud and Army Remount Department of Radauti — Bucovina’, seeking to ensure a larger and higher quality equine riding stock.

For this purpose, the Austrian Armed Forces Ministry took on lease 9,810 hectares of land for the price of 12,275 guilders and 21 crowns. Mount Lucina, with approximately 4,800 hectares of pastures, located 100 kilometers from Radauti, added later to the landed assets as estate used for the breeding and selection of the robustly built, endurance suited Hutsul pony, and for keeping non-foaling mares and fillies in the alpine pastures. No filly that hadn’t put behind two years of alpine grazing was allowed for mating and breeding.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

After the stables were completed, 1,400 horses — broodmares, sires, public mating stallions, suckling foals, yearlings and service horses — where brought to the Radauti estate from Vascauti, and were later assigned to farms. In that time, the Radauti farm had 16 departments with the headquarters in Radauti, where horses were quartered according to race, gender and age.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The importance and significance of the Radauti Stud Farm also relies in the fact that apart from breeding services, it was the main supplier of horses for military duties and for other herds in Austria and Hungary. In 1860, the Radauti Stud was raising breeds and bloodstock lines such as Gidran, Furioso-Northstar, Siglavy, Maestoso, Nonius, Samhan, Anaze, Messrour, Abugress, El-Bedavi, Sachammar, Turchmen.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Three stallions are considered the founders of the equine bloodstock portfolio at Radauti: Berberino from Count Bethlen’s stud, and two English thoroughbreds, Hussein and Manachim from 1802. In 1826 the first Gidran and the first Siglavy stallions are introduced to the farm. In 1842 two Arabian stallions, Shagya and El-Bedavi, are brought from Mezohegyes and Babolna (Hungary), as well as the first English stallion, and in 1856 the Hutsul stud farm in Lucina is set up. In 1869, when the Austrian studs separate from those of the Hungarian Crown, the Radauti Stud is transferred alongside all the other studs in Austria under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture.

In 1914, with the threat of invasion looming, the breeding stock and the Austrian staff were evacuated to Austria.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The Romanian National Council comes into being in 1918, tasked with supporting the Romanian state and its interests over the territories of the former Austrian province. In this context, the Radauti-born engineer Ion Larionescu, a former cavalry officer in the Austrian Army, who was well in the know about the prosperity the Radauti Stud Farm, seeks the support of the Romanian National Council to identify and collect the equine breeding stock that had been moved to western Austria; as a result, the horses get back to Radauti in July 1919 and the stud is reorganized on the former department structure, under the management of Ion Larionescu.

The first studbooks are introduced in Radauti in 1924, and the Arabian Horse Breed Association comes into being, joining many private breeders, who were facilitated participation in exhibitions, mare registration for mating with public stallions, the recognition of the issue, veterinary assistance. The bloodlines bred in Radauti back then were Gazal, Siglavy-Bagdady I, Dahoman XIII and Shagya XV. In the period 1936-1941, descendants of the magnificent El-Sbaa (an Asil horse of the purest Arabian bloodline) and Beck join the Radauti Stud. The Arabian pool of Radauti is transferred in 1941 to Rusetu — Buzau County in exchange for the Gidran pool. The reason for this change was to provide for the Arabian horses natural conditions closer to those of the steppe. The Gidran breed is kept at Radauti until 1997-1998, when the entire population moves to the Tulucesti Stud — Galati County, and the Shagya Arabian returns to Radauti.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Currently, the Radauti Stud Farm counts 273 equines of which eight stallions, 71 dams, 45 public mating stallions, 103 young horses for bloodstock, seven horses for sport and leisure, 32 available for sale and seven work and duty horses.

As of 2002, under the Government’s Ordinance No. 139, the assets of the National Thoroughbred Horses Company SA were taken over by Romsilva.

Head of the Thoroughbred Horses Office of the Suceava Forestry Directorate Cristian Tomniuc considers this was a good move because funding horse studs had become an issue and huge debts had been piling up. Tomniuc said that no state subsidies are paid for horses aged zero to three years and a half, which can seriously affect the economic and financial condition of the stud, and implicitly its development. Cristian Tomniuc added that 12 horse bloodlines are currently bred and improved at the Radauti Stud, which has a very good gene pool.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

“The Radauti Stud is the oldest in Romania and one of the most famous and highly recognized worldwide. It has also hosted a recent international meeting of Shagya Arabian Breeders,” Tomniuc explained. He mentioned that horse races have been organized in Radauti since 2003-2004, and that since 2006 the Radauti Stud is included in the calendar of the Romanian Equestrian Federation, with such tournaments already having a tradition here.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The most decorated horse of the Radauti Stud is Zoltan, a Romanian Sporthorse who won a host of national and international titles; most recently, the five-year old placed on top of the ranking in several events of the Toscana Tour 2014 Equestrian Championships for Young Horses held in Arezzo, Italy, this April. AGERPRES

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