About horses and improving the race in Galicia (1839)

O chowie koni i polepszeniu rasy w Galicyi

By Prince Władysław Sanguszko, Published by Piotr Piller, Lviv, 1839.

Edited by Lyman Doyle. Translated from Polish by David Rygielski.

Editor’s Note

Prince Wladyslaw Sanguszko (1803-1870) was the brother of Prince Roman Sanguszko Sr. (1800-1881). They are the son’s of Prince Eustachy Sanguszko (1768-1844) and grandson’s of Prince Hieronim Sangsuzko (1743-1812). He wrote this book of which Chapter 7 is translated below at the age of 36.

Two of Skowronek’s ancestors, “Szumka” and “Zbój” are mentioned by W. Sanguszko. From the text below we understand the following about their origin:

  1. Szumka and Zbój lived at the same time and were used at stud in the Sanguszko herd for 15 years.
  2. Szumka’s sire was half “Arab” according to the author. It is not clear what the other half was.
  3. Szumka’s dam was English.
  4. Zbój was born in Asia Minor and came from a high quality group of horses from that region.
  5. In the author’s judgement, Szumka and Zbój were unsuccessful as sires within the Sanguszko family herd.
  6. In terms of blood, Szumka was closer to the mares of the Sanguszko herd than Zbój, a mix of Arab, English and perhaps other blood.

The translation follows:


Having shown that mixing races is a harmful thing, let’s turn our attention onto the choice of the Stallion. The first condition is that the Stallion ought to be of the same blood[1] as the Mare to be settled. If there is a difference between the two, it should be in the Stallion’s favour, that is: you should make efforts so that the stallion is of a better stock than the Mare. If there is a really big difference between the Stallion and Mare, if the Stallion is Arabian and the mare is a Normand or a Mecklenburger, then usually the Stallion will be hesitant to settle her, and often she will not become settled. The herd owner should give special attention to the parents of the Stallion that he is using, and not be distracted by his beauty or his personal properties, but try to acquire sufficient information about his sire and dam; as you can be sure that the Stallion’s own properties, whether good or bad, are less important than the properties and quality of his parents and ancestors. It is not without reason that Englishmen and Arabs keep evidence of the whole family line: it is a matter of the highest importance, and no herd retain its high quality if the lineage is not kept in the highest order. I am repeating once again: the personal attributes of a Stallion are less important, than the lineage that it comes from; and those breeding horses should always keep this in mind. To support the truth of this remark, I will quote two striking examples:

Many fans of horses from Wołyń, Podolia and Galicia have known or heard of two famous stallions, living at the same time in the same stable in Wołyń[2]. One was black and named Szumka, the other was white, named Zbój. I haven’t seen such beautiful, strong, courageous horses before or after, and anyone who had known them will say the same. Szumka was the grandchild of an Arab horse, and the dam was English[3]; Zbój was born in Asia Minor, and came from the best band[4] of horses of that region. Both of these horses settled mares in the herd for more than fifteen years, and even though they were given the best mares, their whole progeny, without exception, was imperfect. Zbój, who was even further[5] than Szumka was from the mares that he settled, left even worse progeny. We often see that a stallion of an old and good lineage may sometimes seem to not be worth much, but brings beautiful foals. These are new examples to show that crossing races is a mistake, and how necessary the knowledge of the lineage of the Stallion and the Mare is.

  1. “Jednakowej krwi” means the same/identical blood
  2. Original footnote: ”In Sławuta”
  3. “Angielka” means “Englishwoman”
  4. Best band/group/herd
  5. In terms of closeness of race.
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