Breeder: Stadnina Koni Liski

Great-Poland horse (Polarstern – Venus / NN), born on 15/05/1953 | died on 15/09/1982

When uncommon individuals die, they are worth a few evocative words, like the outstanding grey Volt.

He was born in Liski Stud Farm on 15th May 1953, by Trakehnen stallion Polarstern out of East Prussian mare Venus. Polarstern — the black and massive sire of offspring that moved well under a saddle – was selected for small grey Venus to increase the mass and improve movement. A foal was to take over his dam dryness. Volt fulfilled some of these breeder’s intentions. He took over his sire’s exterior, head carriage and manner of reliance on a snaffle bit and his dam’s colour, dryness and hardness when working.

The foal, despite his late birth, developed well, however he did not distinguish himself in his age group. This age group included Bolgami that was the future excellent jumper. Volt in the age of 2.5, was transferred as a stallion to the Training Institution in Kwidzyń in autumn 1955. He did not complete the performance test because he did not pass its carriage part. Drawing was not his hobby. In the autumn 1956, he was transferred to the Stallion’s Depot in Braniewo where he was used in sport; he was mounted by director Edward Perzyna. Volt was not a sire. He was barren. He was culled in the summer 1957 and transferred to sports horses. He fall ill after castration hardly. After the operation, he pulled his hind legs for a long time. It was his manner of motion until extreme old age.

His career’s start was not glittering. As a hard to manage horse, he rarely passed the course virtuously, since pulling hind legs caused mistakes. The work with him did not succeed. Therefore in the summer 1958, he was transferred to the sports centre at Wola, Poznań; he was destined for Marian Kowalczyk, under whom another Polarsten’s son Pregor started celebrated triumphs worldwide. However, Volt failed to comply with expectation as a jumper under M. Kowalczyk. He was designed for Three Days’ Event. Thereby, he met Marian Babirecki in 1959 and stayed under him until the end of his sports career.

The choice proved right. Pulling hind legs that was bad in course, proved helpful in cross-country while overcoming obstacles at downcast. He was hard, fighting and bore easily training loads. Effects of this work came soon. Successes of this pair started from the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 where they were placed eighth. This year, they won also Championship of Poland in dressage.

However, after the Olympic Games in Rome, Volt’s robust health weakened. It appeared that the horse’s effort brought to almost loss of vision. The earlier good athlete became the almost blindfold worthless horse. However, he was not given up. He was cared exceptionally and he recovered his sight. Unfortunately, the similar, although to a lesser degree, complaints occurred after every intense effort. His return to real sport lasted almost three years. At that time, he was transferred from Poznań to the equestrian section of the Stallions’ Depot in Kwidzyń.

As time told, the best successes were before him. In 1964, he won Championship of Poland in dressage and Three Days’ Event. In 1965, he was in the prime of life and was prepared for European Championships in Moscow that were considered difficult due to high level of Soviet competitors. The dressage test was successful as well as the cross-country, so Volt was the leader before jumping. One fault in the course could result in loss of medal. This was a beautiful fight and the pair Volt-Babirecki was faultless, so they won European Championship. In 1965, Volt won also the title of the second Vice-Champion of Poland in dressage and in 1966 – the first Vice-Champion. His win at the Three Days’ Event of class C in Sieraków in 1967 was his swansong. In total, within his sports career in the period 1958-1967, he won six awards (placed between the first and the sixth) in the dressage, ten awards (placed between the first and the sixth) in eventing above class N and two awards (placed between the first and the sixth) in show jumping of class C and higher.

Unfortunately, he developed sprained tendons of flexors in his front legs. He was already unsuited for a sport performance but was used as a recreation horse in Łąck within the period 1968-1970. Then in 1971, he was transferred to his mother stud farm in Liski, appropriated for riders’ training. He was not so good in this role. Although he could not run intensively but he liked jumping and often threw the first-time rider. He was assigned another task as a leader of two years old colts depot. However, the award-winning pensioner was not awe-inspiring for them and they got in his hair. Then he was transferred to weaners. He looked after them while growing accustomed to them, so he did not like removal to a younger group every year. He felt excellently in his role as an “uncle” and fulfilled it until his death. He died on 15 September 1982 while living 29 years and 5 months. The horse belonged to national and even European leaders for eight years.

Author: Antoni Pacyński, a former director of Liski Stud Farm, horse breeder and equestrian coach.

Volt and Marian Babirecki formed a couple that achieved many successes, incl. taking the 8th place at the Olympics in Rome in 1960, and above all winning the European Championship in Moscow in 1965 (photo by St. Rozwadowski)
Volt as a guide of the offspring herd at the Liski stud