Principal and Federal Stud Marbach
Internet: www.gestuet-marbach.de (English)
With its farms at Marbach, Offenhausen and St. Johann the stud is situated idyllically in the heart of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Swabian Alb, Baden-Wuerttemberg. Looking back on more than 500 years of history in horse breeding, Marbach is the oldest German state stud, a valuable cultural heritage and at the same time the country's largest education facility for equine professionals. 87 employees and 37 trainees are occupied by the stud. One thousand hectares of pasture and crop land are used as feed supply for the roughly 550 horses.
Horse breeding at Marbach goes back to the middle ages, when Eberhard V established his own private stud on the site between 1477 and 1480. The ruling Dukes soon realised the need to improve the quality of the local horse breeds, and in 1573 Marbach was elevated to the status of a court and state stud. The 18th and 19th centuries saw intense breeding, using Mecklenburger, Holsteiner, English half-breds and Norman horses, to improve the quality of the local working horses. From about 1896 to 1950 breeding was concentrated on producing a standard Wuerttemberger horse - a multi-purpose animal capable of working the land as well as being suitable for leisure purposes. From the mid-1950s it was decided to attempt to breed a lighter, more athletic, modern riding horse. The Trakehner stallion Julmond was used as the foundation stallion, and despite being 22 years old when he arrived at Marbach, he helped establish the modern Wuerttemberger warmblood.
Cross-breeding with other warmblood breeds, such as the Hanovarian, Oldenburger, Holsteiner, Trakehner and English Thoroughbred, has refined the breed, and today the modern Wuerttemberger is highly regarded as a competition horse, as well as a good family all-rounder and carriage horse.
Marbach is also well known as the home of the Weil-Marbach Arabians. Between 1814 and 1819 King Wilhelm I of Wuerttemberg imported a number of Arabian stallions and mares from the Middle East and established his own private stud at Weil (near Stuttgart). When he died in 1864 the Weil Arabians were considered to be the best in Europe. However, the stud went into decline between 1890 and 1932, and at the height of economic and financial crisis in 1932, Princess Pauline zu Wied decided to sign the entire breeding stock over to Marbach, as the last will and testament of King Wilhelm I forbade the disbandment of the herd. The post-war years saw the Weil-Marbach Arabians at another low-point - the original 17 horses to come from Weil in 1932 carried only one bloodline and another out-cross was urgently required to safeguard the future of these special horses. The saviour was a desert-bred stallion called Hadban Enzahi, imported from the El Zahraa Stud in Egypt in 1955 as a three-year old. He was perhaps the most enigmatic of stallions, responsible for the foundation of an exceptional family of mares.
Today, Marbach is home to the German Warmblood, Black Forest draft horses and pure bred Arabian stallions. As principal stud Marbach owns two stud herds with 40 Warmblood and 20 pure bred Arabian mares. The internationally renowned EU insemination and embryo-transfer facility is located in Offenhausen. In the performance testing station for mares and stallions annually up to 80 horses are tested regarding their temperament and performance. Marbach provides excellent conditions for boarding young horses. They grow up together in groups with the stud's own offspring. Old Horses can enjoy their well deserved retirement at the "Schafhaus" facility at St. Johann.
The annual attractions at Marbach include the stallion presentation and the auction of young riding horses in spring and the famous stallion parades which attract 30.000 visitors in autumn. Throughout the year numerous high profile equestrian events take place at Marbach, such as eventing in May, concerts with equestrian presentations, "Marbach Classics", in July and the Marbach Dressage Festival up to Grand Prix level in August. About 1000 people per year attend the courses of the state riding and driving schools at Marbach. Courses are offered for novice or advanced riders and drivers, for trainers and instructors.
More and more, education attracts public interest. Marbach is the seat of the "Competence Centre for Horse Breeding, Keeping and Health in Baden-Wuerttemberg" (KOPF). The stud works closely together with vocational schools and universities, and it works in different national and international networks concerning applied science and education.
Tourism plays an important role in the life of Marbach, visitor programmes have been established and will be enlarged. Guided tours for families and groups as well as different carriage-trips and exclusive programmes are on offer. Facilities are available for corporate events, wedding receptions, exhibitions and other similar functions.
The stud's museum at Offenhausen, located in the former cloister church dating back to the 14th century, illustrates the history of the principal and state stud of Marbach and of horse breeding in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Currently, a construction programme is executed, including a visitor and seminar centre, different indoor and outdoor riding arenas as well as additional accommodation for horses and riders.
Marbach Video 4:19 min. (German)
We thank KraemerPferdesport for making the movie available publicly on YouTube.
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Map including the three farms
- Details with a sketch of the buildings at openstreetmap: www.openstreetmap.de/...
- Overall view at Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/...
Both maps you can zoom in and out. Besides that Google offers a satellite view and a topographic map, openstreetmap enables you to display the routes of public transport.