As the russian army advanced into Hungary during the last days of World War II, a goods train puffed across the border and into Germany.
As the russian army advanced into Hungary during the last days of World War II, a goods train puffed across the border and into Germany. Its lead - 60 thoroughbred horses.
A few days later 16 motor horse boxes also crossed the frontier, forcing their way through dangerous, snow-covered passes, to carry another 30 horses into Germany.
Now, in the uplands of Bavarian Weidekoppeln, Prince Ludwig van Bayern and his wife, Princess Irngard, can survey the latest generation of one of the most famous studs in Europe.
Inherited by the Wittelsbachers form Maria Theresa, via King Ludwig III, the string now consists of over 70 horses and studmaster Baker proudly shows off his 13 year old stallion "Pelgas" which he took into Germany from the family farm at Sarwar.
Although the stud does not breed racehorses, there is a big demand for their animals for backing, polo, steeplechasing and show jumping.
They are hybrid stock. The sires are thoroughbred stallions from England; the dems are Hungarian - impervious to heat and cold, arduous conditions and low levels of nutrition. They have the natural toughness and stamina displayed by the East Prussian and Polish horses - the result of an expert cross between natural strain and the finest bloodstock.
They do not leave the stud until they are four years old. Prince Ludwig refuses to let them eat too well. "If they are hardened off n their youth, they can stand extremes of temperature and thrive on poor food. They must be brought on slowly and get used to a frugal diet."
Who does the breaking in?
Studmaster Baker replies with pride: "His highness, his wife, the Princess - and I."
A glance through the studbook reveals that the original stallions can be traced to Arabia, while, many of the dems have and as many as 12 or 13 foals. Csako, a 22-year-old dam, holds the record with 19 foals.