The journey to the farm itself is an experience. This cultural monument is located in a picturesque landscape near Konopiště. Originally, there was a settlement with a fortress here. “Since the 16th century, the local area has been under the Konopišť estate. It has passed through the hands of many owners, but the most famous of them was probably Albrecht from Valdštejn,” Martina Pilátová, who organizes weddings and other events for the public at the estate, looks around the yard.
Thanks to the lords of Vrtba, the Benice estate was rebuilt into its present baroque form around 1750. The builder chose the unusual plan of an equilateral triangle at the request of František Václav of Vrtba, as the triangle was a symbol of St. Anna, the patroness of the family. Thanks to its rich history and interesting architecture, the farm was registered as a cultural monument.
A horse for the King of Spain
Old Kladrub horses run through the surrounding meadows. Jiří Jehlička and Tomáš Barták had a decisive influence on their breeding here, who left a deep mark here. “In the beginning, it was very difficult, because there were practically no Kladrub horses in the country’s breeding. You couldn’t buy it from a stud farm in Kladrub or Slatiňany, because everything was sold abroad,” recalls Tomáš Barták about the beginnings. Horses from Benice starred in the film and Tomáš Barták also represented them at chariot competitions. Seneca, a local pupil, made it all the way to the King of Spain.
The current stud administrator, Monika Klímová, learned a lot from the stud’s original founders. She started in Benice as a young girl, when the farm was still overgrown with thorns. To this day, she remembers how she used to commute here to work to help clear the farm from elderberries and thorn bushes. At the moment, he takes care of 19 Starokladrub horses. When weddings are held at the farm, horses can also be hitched to a historic carriage.
Part of the farm is an extensive farm. Peacocks are walking along the roads and Honzík and Kája – a donkey with a pig – are calling from the paddock. However, the Benice estate is not just a picturesque backdrop for wedding guests. There is huge interest in local camps for children. Equestrian camps are held here, where children ride horses, as well as camps for small farmers who learn to take care of farm animals.
Are you interested in the color of Starokladrub horses? Listen to Bára Kvapilová’s report.