30.08.2019 change 09.09.2019

70th anniversary of the Konik state stud in Popielno

The Konik state stud in Popielno will celebrate its 70th anniversary. It is the oldest, uninterrupted Konik stud in the country. The celebrations on 5-7 September are organized by the Research Station of the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research PAS.

Chairwoman of the anniversary organizing committee Dr. Marta Siemieniuch reminds that the Konik (also called the Polish primitive horse) is the only native, original horse breed, believed to be a descendant of wild tarpans, which until the end of the 18th century could be found in the lands of former Poland, Lithuania and Prussia.

"Konik is an excellent model for studying the processes and behaviours of their wild ancestors, as well as the populations of wild horses" - she explains.

The anniversary celebration will be accompanied by a scientific conference "Masurian Konik stud - past, present and future" and two sessions. The working session will include bravery tests for young Konik mares and stallions, and the breeding session a review the horses from the stable group and a trip to the Konik reserve on the Popielno Peninsula.

The Research Station of the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research PAS breeds Koniks in two maintenance systems: reserve and stable.

In order to preserve the breed, its original features and various possibilities of use, the "program of conservative breeding of Konik" is also being carried out.

The program applies to stallions and mares participating in reproduction; its main objective is to preserve the characteristic features of the breed and improve its utility. The most typical features of Polish horses are: mouse-grey hair coat with a dark ridge running through the back (believed to be inherited from the wild ancestors - tarpans), characteristic primitive type and build; low nutrition and care requirements, good fertility, health and longevity, observed especially in the reserve maintenance system.

Konik stud in the stable system was launched in Popielno in 1949 and is the longest existing stud in Poland. The stable group of about 60 animals includes adult horses belonging to the breeding herd (mares and stallions), young horses left for the so-called herd renovation and horses belonging to the trading herd, intended for sale.

Open reserve breeding has been carried out in Popielno without interruption since 1955. This means that the Koniks remain in the forest reserve throughout the year and, according to the assumptions of the breeding program, human intervention is minimal. It involves observations of horses living in the reserve and intervention when the animal`s life is threatened, winter hay feeding and catching young animals. There are currently three herds in the reserve, with a total of about 30-35 Koniks.

The Research Station of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Popielno was incorporated into the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn in 2016. The mission of the Research Station is to protect biodiversity by breeding animals of conservative breeds (Koniks, Polish red and black and white lowland cattle) as well as educate and promote active lifestyle.

The celebration of the 70th anniversary of Polish stud in Popielno will take place at the Research Station of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Popielno and Creative Work Centre PAS in Wierzba. 

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