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The White Horses

The 1965 television series, The White Horses, captured children's hearts everywhere as it related the story of a teenager's adventures with a herd of white Lipizzaner horses on her uncle's stud farm. The show was the result of a collaboration between Yugoslavian and German TV companies, with a dubbed version broadcast on British television beginning in 1968.

The plot revolves around teenage girl Julia, played by Helga Anders, who travels from her home in Belgrade to spend her summer holiday on her Uncle Dimitri's stud farm. Dimitri, played by Helmuth Schneider, breeds the beautiful horses with the help of head groom Hugo, played by Franz Muxeneder.

The story begins with a stallion, Boris, being stolen from the stud, with the thieves dyeing his white coat brown to disguise him. Hugo and Julia set off on a mission to find the horse - and on recovering him and returning to the farm, Julia builds a great bond with Boris, which continues throughout the series. Each episode features a different adventure.

The White Horses was produced by RTV Ljubljana of Yugoslavia and Südwestfunk of Germany. It was filmed in black and white and although only 13 episodes were ever made (each for a duration of 25 minutes) it had a huge following, particularly in the UK where it was a staple of BBC children's television.

It originally ran from 12th September 1966 until 27th February 1967, but the British dubbed version proved so popular when first broadcast in 1968 that repeats were screened for many years afterwards.

The dubbed soundtrack was believed to be lost for many years, so it was a source of great excitement when old reel-to-reel audio tapes for 12 of the 13 episodes were found in recent years. A series of DVDs have been compiled of the 12 episodes, using the original video footage from the series, with the English dubbed soundtrack.

This is testament to the show's popularity today, more than 50 years after it was first produced. The only one missing is episode three, Suspicion Falls on Andre. Episodes such as Thais Becomes a Mother, The Horse Cure, Buried Treasure and Horses Stampede have stood the test of time and are enjoyed by a new generation of viewers, as well as original fans keen to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

The show's theme song, White Horses, was equally famous and memorable. The original German theme song was performed by Ivo Robić, a Croatian singer and songwriter, who was a former soloist with the Radio Zagreb Orchestra.

However, the UK theme song, written by Ben Nisbet and Michael Carr, became one of the most famous songs of all time. It was sung by Irish singer Jackie Lee and was a top 10 hit in the UK pop charts in April 1968. It was awarded the title of the best television theme in history by The Penguin Television Companion book and has been copied and used many times since.

Cover versions were performed by Scottish indie group Sophisticated Boom Boom during their 1982 John Peel Session on Radio 1 and by Cerys Matthews on the 2007 compilation album, Songs for the Young at Heart. It has been covered around 10 times by other artists.

Helga Anders, the Austrian actress who starred as Julia, was 18 years old when she was chosen for the lead role in The White Horses. She had been acting on the stage since the age of eight and went on to make many films and TV series, including a long stint in the German crime drama, Derrick, from 1977 until 1984. Tragically, she died of heart failure at the young age of 38, but will always be remembered as fresh-faced Julia in The White Horses.

Coruba Stable Matting

The White Horses gives a beautiful insight into the many joys of owning a horse. Give your equine friends the love they deserve with Coruba's range of animal rubber matting products –  a comfortable and hygienic method of adding insulation to stables. Please contact us for more information on our wide range of stable matting products, which are particularly useful as winter approaches.

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