Hungarian Horses in America and the Legacy of the Kisberi Lineage
HORSE DIAMONDS explores how Hungarian horses came to America, the establishment of the Hungarian Horse Association of America (HHAA) in 1966 and a small group of Hungarian horse enthusiasts trying to keep the kisber-felver bloodline alive.
At the end of WWII, as the Russians were advancing, Hungarian stud farm managers and horse owners, who were caught in the crossfires of war, made a final attempt to save what was left of their highly prized bloodlines; understanding they had to do anything to save the horses before they would be taken (and possibly eaten) by the Russian army.
United States Army Officers realizing that these outstanding European warmbloods could improve the quality of the American cavalry horses, they were seized as spoils of war and shipped to America on two USS Liberty ships. Once they arrived at Newport News, Virginia the horses were sent by train to remounts located throughout the United States to be sold at dispersal sales. First stop being Front Royal, VA.
Seventy-five years later, a small group of Hungarian horse breeders in the US are trying to pick up where the founders of the original HHAA left off by reintroducing original Kisber bloodlines that were lost here in the U.S. However, with barriers like strict international import/export requirements, prohibitive costs and time running out, the task at hand is as difficult as it seems. If they don’t succeed, the bloodlines that came from Hungary long ago may be lost for good.
In 2019, filmmaker Kimberley Williams traveled to Hungary to help document the 30th year celebration of the Hungarian Kisberi-Felver-Gidran. The Americans were there to scout potential Kisberi stallions and bring back that information to HHAA members and get them excited about reinfusing their Kisberi lineage. While there, the Hungarians took note of the fact that there were bloodlines in the states that no longer exist in Hungary.
The project Horse Diamonds will document the transnational attempt to breed Hungarian mares in America to proven Stallions in Hungary. Out of this herculean effort, the hope is, a new wave of Hungarian foals will be born in the United States that will help continue the historical Kisberi-felver bloodlines.
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