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Long Rider
s Robin and Louella Hanbury-Tenison, who made the first modern journey through Albania in 2007, received this plea for help for the horse-racing breeds of Albania.  If you can help in any way, please contact The Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation.

Dear Robin

I am writing at your suggestion to ask for help in supplying horse semen to improve Albanian horse racing.


The district of Elbasan has 23,620 equine (single–hoofed) animals (horses, mules and donkeys), from which there are about 1,560 horse mares.

In general the Albanian horse is classified as a pony horse with a height of 130-140 cm [approx. 12-13.2 hands] having Arab blood.


After the Second World War horse breeds were brought in from abroad, such as Nonius, Grey Bonati, Haflinger and Arab and their descendants can still be found in the district of Elbasan.

After 1990 quality horses entered Albania from different breeds such as English Thoroughbreds, and Arab crosses, which are used for sporting purposes for flat racing and hurdles. The sport is currently in its infancy, but there is a growing interest in equestrian sports.

The Need

Having said the above, and seeing that there is a lack of quality stallions (stud-horses), it would be of great interest to have the opportunity to cross breed our mares with quality Thoroughbred stallions from the English and Irish breeds.

Because it is so expensive to buy and keep thoroughbred stallions we think it is more realistic to use artificial insemination with deep frozen biological material kept in liquid nitrogen – (at minus 196o) as a scientific experiment.

Outline of Proposal Experiment

We have the necessary technical infrastructure and vessels for keeping the biological material, and also technical capacity for artificial insemination.

Fortunately Albanian law permits the importation of biological material from abroad.  We have agreed with Albanor – a registered Albanian Non-Profit (Association) to import the material in their name. They have a license to import biological material and work with cows, but they have agreed to help us.

We intend to work in this manner:

The timeframe of the experiment is 3 years.

The Number of mares for insemination is 100.

A database will be created registering all the mares, their age, race, height, oblique length and girth, hoof width, and other criteria.

We will register the results such as the pregnancy rate, birth parameters (the weight, oblique height, perimeter of the shin) at birth and at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years.

On completion of the project we will publish a report of the results with conclusion and recommendations for the future development of Equestrian sports in Albania

Financial Consideration

We propose to make a relatively modest charge for the cost of inseminating the mares, to reflect the current economic situation and also to encourage people to take part in the project.

We propose to use this income to pay for the cost of monitoring the experiment and maintaining the semen in a frozen state. However we are unable to pay for the cost of semen and able to offer a very token amount towards its transport costs.

Further needs

We would very much appreciate any advice you are able to give us on this experiment. Also we do not have an insemination device for horses – only for cows.

Please can you advice whether this is suitable.

Co-Ordination of the project

In view of the seriousness I attach to this project, I intend to co-ordinate and manage it myself. This is due to my passion for horses and my experience of working with horses since 1972.

I confirm that I have been in consultation with Arjan Rugji, President of Albanian Horse Racing Federation who supports this application.

Thank you for considering our request for help.

Yours sincerely,

Piro Kota

Veterinary Surgeon

Project Co-ordinator


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