Check out the Events Page for upcoming events!
Check out the Events Page for upcoming events!
The Dartmoor pony is one of the horse breeds that have lived on Dartmoor England for centuries and is used for a variety of disciplines. Because of the extreme weather conditions experienced on the moors, the Dartmoor is a particularly hardy breed with excellent stamina. Over the centuries it has been used as a working animal by local tin miners and quarry workers. It is kept in a semi-feral state on Dartmoor.
Despite this, numbers living on the open moor have declined from an estimated 5000 in 1900 to about 300 registered ponies today. Only around 800 ponies were known to be grazing the moor in the spring of 2004.
The small head has large, wide-set eyes and alert ears. The body is strong, with a broad, deep rib cage, and of medium length. The legs are strong, long from body to knee and hock, but with short cannons with strong, dense bone, and a flat-fronted knee; the foreleg rises to a shoulder that is well-angled and with good freedom of movement, and the hindleg rises to a quarter that is well-muscled and rounded in appearance, rather than flat or sloping. The mane and tail should be full and flowing, and the pony's movement free and smooth. The Dartmoor pony has a kind temperament, the ponies being reliable, gentle and calm. Most Dartmoor ponies stand between 11.1 to 12.2 hands (45 to 50 inches, 114 to 127 cm); a pony should stand at no more than 12.2 hands under the breed standard, introduced in 1924. Recognised colours include bay, brown, black, grey, chestnut or roan.
Piebald and skewbald colouring is not permitted within the Dartmoor Pony breed. Ponies with this colouring, seen running on Dartmoor, are likely to be Dartmoor Hill Ponies as Dartmoor commoners may graze any type of pony out on the moors. The Dartmoor Hill Pony is classified as a pony born on Dartmoor, but not a purebred registered Dartmoor Pony. It is not a true breed as such, as the registry for Dartmoor Hill Ponies is open only to those born on the moors, so a pony born of two Dartmoor Hill ponies, but not born on the moors, could not be registered with the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association.
Although Exmoor ponies live fairly close geographically and their markings are somewhat similar, evidence now suggests that Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor ponies are not related as was once thought.
The bones of prehistoric horses have been found in chamber tombs dating from Vere Gordon Childe's period III - IV in southern Britain. This would date the bones at the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society (the Neolithic Revolution) at around 3500 BC; the bones are probably from wild horses but domestication may have begun by that date. Archeological investigation from the 1970s has shown that domesticated ponies were to be found on Dartmoor as early as 1500 BC. The first written record, dated to AD 1012, refers to wild horses at Ashburton, and early records from Dartmoor manors refer to ponies being branded and ear-marked.
The Dartmoor Pony was used in medieval times for carrying heavy loads of tin from the mines across the moor. When the mines closed, some ponies were kept for farming, but most of the ponies were turned out onto the moor. Ponies were bred at Dartmoor Prison from the early 1900s up until the 1960s, and used by guards for escorting prisoners.
The Dartmoor received Arab blood from the stallion Dwarka, foaled in 1922, as well as Dwarka’s son, The Leat. Welsh Pony breeding was introduced from the stallion Dinarth Spark, and infusions of Fell Pony blood was also added.
The first attempt to define and register the breed was in 1898, when the ponies were entered into a studbook started by the Polo Pony Society. In 1924, the breed society was founded, and a studbook opened. World War l and World War ll were devastating to the breed. Only a handful of ponies were registered during World War II. However, after the war, local people began to inspect and register as many ponies as they could, and by the 1950s, numbers were back up.
Two schemes have been introduced to halt the decline in numbers, and broaden the gene pool of the Dartmoor Pony. The Dartmoor Pony Moorland Scheme (DPMS) was established in 1988 and is administered by the Dartmoor Pony Society and the Duchy of Cornwall, as well as being supported by the Dartmoor National Park. In 2004 a new scheme, the Dartmoor Pony Preservation Scheme (DPPS), was introduced, and herds taking part in this new scheme must enter one mare each year to the DPMS. The Dartmoor Pony has been granted Rare Breed status.
Dartmoor Ponies Today
Dartmoor ponies are native to Britain, but are also seen in other parts of the world including the USA,Continental Europe, New Zealand and Australia. They are often used as foundation breeding stock for the Riding Pony. The breed is a suitable size and temperament for a children’s mount, but it is also quite capable of carrying an adult. They are used for hunting, trail riding, showing, jumping, dressage and driving, as well as everyday riding.
All ponies free-roaming on Dartmoor are owned and protected by Dartmoor Commoners. It is illegal for visitors to feed the ponies although it is a common sight to see ponies being fed snacks through an open car window.
Source - Wikipedi
The Fell pony is a versatile, working breed of mountain and moorland pony originating in the north of England in Cumberland and Westmorland (Cumbria) and Northumberland. It was originally bred on the fell farms of northwest England, and is used as a riding and driving pony. The breed is closely related to its geographic neighbour, the Dales Pony, but is a little smaller and more ponylike in build. The Fell pony is noted for hardiness, agility, strength and sure-footedness.
Fell ponies vary a good deal in weight and size, so that ponies may be found to carry almost any rider. The average height of the breed is 13.2 hands (54 inches, 137 cm), and the upper height limit for the breed is 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm). The breed was bred for the unforgiving mountainous environment of Cumbria in North-West England, so they are adaptable to almost any climate.
The colours accepted in the breed are black, brown, bay and grey. Chestnuts, piebalds and skewbalds are not allowed. A star on the head and/or a small amount of white on or below the hind fetlock is acceptable. However, excess white markings are discouraged.
The Fell pony should be hardy and show good pony characteristics, including strong flat bone. It should exhibit intelligence and self-preservation considered common to British mountain and moorland pony breeds, and at the same time, have a lively and alert attitude. The breed generally has a steady temperament.
The Fell pony has the regular gaits, noted for correct movement and is considered sure-footed in rough terrain.
Fell ponies are reliable jumpers and agile, which makes them useful for cross country riding or hunting. Most animals of the breed lack the scope to make top class jumping ponies, but Fell ponies generally are well up to local show or Pony Club event standard.
The Fell pony shares its origins with the now-extinct Galloway Pony which was also the root of the Dales Pony. It is believed to have originated on the border between England and Scotland, quite probably pre-dating Roman times. The Fell Pony Society makes no claims about any input from imported Roman war stallions being crossed with these ponies.
In the early stud books, 50% of ponies were brown in colour, though over the last few decades black has become predominant, followed by brown, bay and grey.
They are primarily a working breed of pony with activity, stamina, hardiness and intelligence that enables them to live and thrive in tough conditions out on the fells in the Lake District.
Use as Packhorses
The Fell pony was originally used as a packhorse, carrying lead, slate, copper and iron ore. They were also used for light agriculture and the transportation of bulky farm goods such as wool.With their sturdy bodies, strong legs and equable disposition, and being good, fast walkers, they would travel up to 240 mi (390 km) a week. They were favoured by the Vikings as packhorses as well as for ploughing, riding and pulling sledges. Their use as packponies continued into the 20th century when they were also used in pack-pony trains and by postal services. Some Fell ponies were famed in the North as fast trotters. There are tales of distances covered at great speeds by these ponies.
In Recent Times
Fells at the present are being used for pleasure riding and competitive uses, pack-work, trekking and shepherding. The Fell pony can be seen in the horse show world, seen in in hand, under saddle, and working hunter pony classes. They also do well in driving and endurance riding. They are very suitable for riding and driving for persons with disabilities.
A Fell pony can be used as an all-round family pony. It is capable of carrying both children or adults, and versatile enough to fulfill a variety of jobs otherwise carried out by two or three more specialised animals. The rise of carriage driving as a recreational activity has provided the Fell pony a renewed job which it traditionally performed for centuries. A few Fell ponies are still used in Scotland carrying the stags and grouse panniers down from the moors. Some of the ponies of Queen Elizabeth ll are sometimes used for this purpose at Balmoral, while others are used for both riding and driving by the Royal Family. Fell ponies have recently been used to carry equipment into the hills for repair of footpaths in the Lake District and they are increasingly being used for British Dressage "Team Quest" competitions (FPS Magazine, Spring 2016, p61)
Fell Pony Society
The Fell Pony Committee resolved to become a Society in 1916, "to keep pure the old breed of pony that has roamed the northern hills for years". However, it was not until 1918, with the end of World War l, that the resolution became reality. In 1922 the Society restructured itself on "more liberal lines" in order to attract more members to the support of the Fell pony. Nonetheless, the breed's numbers decreased considerably, until 1945, when a breeding "stallion enclosure" program and a grading-up system were started. The program was discontinued in 1970. In the affluent 1950s, riding for pleasure began to gain popularity, securing the future of many British native breeds. The number of ponies being registered with the Fell Pony Society has risen gradually ever since.
All Fell ponies are registered through the society, with an annual studbook published each year. The Society's patron is Queen Elizabeth ll.
Source - Wikipedia
The New Forest pony is one of the recognised mountain and moorland or native pony breeds of the British Isles. Height varies from around 12 to 14.2 hands (48 to 58 inches, 122 to 147 cm); ponies of all heights should be strong, workmanlike, and of a good riding type. They are valued for hardiness, strength, and sure-footedness.
The breed is indigenous to the New Forest in Hampshire in southern England, where equines have lived since before the last Ice Age; remains dating back to 500,000 BC have been found within 50 miles (80 km) of the heart of the modern New Forest. DNA studies have shown ancient shared ancestry with the Celtic-type Asturcon and Pottok ponies. Many breeds have contributed to the foundation bloodstock of the New Forest pony, but today only ponies whose parents are both registered as purebred in the approved section of the studbook may be registered as purebred. The New Forest pony can be ridden by children and adults, can be driven in harness, and competes successfully against larger horses in horse show competition.
All ponies grazing on the New Forest are owned by New Forest commoners – people who have "rights of common of pasture" over the Forest lands. An annual marking fee is paid for each animal turned out to graze. The population of ponies on the Forest has fluctuated in response to varying demand for young stock. Numbers fell to fewer than six hundred in 1945, but have since risen steadily, and thousands now run loose in semi-feral conditions. The welfare of ponies grazing on the Forest is monitored by five Agisters, employees of the Verderers of the New Forest. Each Agister takes responsibility for a different area of the Forest. The ponies are gathered annually in a series of drifts, to be checked for health, wormed, and they are tail-marked; each pony's tail is trimmed to the pattern of the Agister responsible for that pony. Purebred New Forest stallions approved by the Breed Society and by the New Forest Verderers run out on the Forest with the mares for a short period each year. Many of the foals bred on the Forest are sold through the Beaulieu Road pony sales, which are held several times each year.
Standards for the breed are stipulated by the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society. The maximum height allowed is 14.2 1⁄4 hands (58.25 inches, 148 cm). Although there is no minimum height standard, in practice New Forest ponies are seldom less than 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm). In shows, they normally are classed in two sections: competition height A, 138 centimetres (54 in) and under; and competition height B, over 138 centimetres (54 in). New Forest ponies should be of riding type, workmanlike, and strong in conformation, with a sloping shoulder and powerful hindquarters; the body should be deep, and the legs straight with strong, flat bone, and hard, rounded hooves. Larger ponies, although narrow enough in the barrel for small children to ride comfortably, are also capable of carrying adults. Smaller ponies may not be suitable for heavier riders, but they often have more show quality. The New Forest pony has free, even gaits, active and straight, but not exaggerated, and is noted for sure-footedness, agility, and speed.
The ponies are most commonly bay, chestnut, or grey. Few coat colours are excluded: piebald, skewbald, and blue-eyes cream are not allowed; palomino and very light chestnut are only accepted by the stud book as geldings and mares. Blue eyes are never accepted. White markings on the head and lower legs are allowed, unless they appear behind the head, above the point of the hock in the hind leg, or above the metacarpal bone at the bend in the knee in the foreleg. Ponies failing to pass these standards may not be registered in the purebred section of the stud book, but are recorded in the appendix, known as the X-register. The offspring of these animals may not be registered as purebred New Forest ponies, as the stud book is closed and only the offspring of purebred-approved registered ponies may be registered as purebred.
New Forest ponies have a gentle temperament and a reputation for intelligence, strength, and versatility. On the whole, they are a sturdy and hardy breed. The one known hereditary genetic disorder found in the breed is congenital myotonia, a muscular condition also found in humans, dogs, cats, and goats. It was identified in the Netherlands in 2009, after a clinically affected foal was presented to the Equine Clinic of Utrecht University. DNA Sequencing revealed that the affected foal was homozygous for a missense mutation in the gene encoding CLCN1, a protein which regulates the excitability of the skeletal muscle. The mutated allele was found in both the foal's parents, its siblings, and two other related animals, none of whom exhibited any clinical signs. The researchers concluded that the condition has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, whereby both parents have to contribute the mutated allele for a physically affected foal to be produced with that phenotype. The study suggested that the mutation was of relatively recent origin: the founder of the mutated gene, as all the ponies who tested positive for the mutation are direct descendants of this stallion. The probable founder stallion has been identified as Kantje's Ronaldo; testing is now underway to identify which of his offspring carry the mutated gene. All carriers will be removed from the breeding section of the New Forest Pony Breeding & Cattle Society's stud book, and all New Forest stallions licensed in the UK also will be tested, whether or not they descend from Kantje's Ronaldo, to cover the possibility that the mutated gene may have appeared earlier in the pedigree, although it is believed that the mutated gene has now been eradicated from the British breeding stock. All breeding stock imported to the UK also will be tested.
Ponies have grazed in the area of the New Forest for many thousands of years, predating the last Ice Age. Spear damage on a horse shoulder bone discovered at Eartham Pit, Boxgrove (about 50 miles (80 km) from the heart of the modern New Forest), dated 500,000 BC, demonstrates that early humans were hunting horses in the area at that time, and the remains of a large Ice Age hunting camp have been found close to Ringwood (on the western border of the modern New Forest). Evidence from the skeletal remains of ponies from the Bronze Age suggests that they resembled the modern Exmoor Pony. Horse bones excavated from Iron Age ritual burial sites at Danebury (about 25 miles (40 km) from the heart of the modern New Forest), indicate that the animals were approximately 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) – a height similar to that of some of the smaller New Forest ponies of today.
William the Conqueror, who claimed the New Forest as a royal hunting ground, shipped more than two thousand horses across the English Channel when he invaded England in 1066. The earliest written record of horses in the New Forest dates back to that time, when rights of common of pasture were granted to the area's inhabitants. A popular tradition linking the ancestry of the New Forest pony to Spanish horses said to have swum ashore from wrecked ships at the time of the Spanish Armada has, according to the New Forest National Park Authority, "long been accepted as a myth", however, the offspring of Forest mares, probably bred at the Royal Stud in Lyndhurst, were exported in 1507 for use in the Renaissance Wars A genetic study in 1998 suggested that the New Forest pony has ancient shared ancestry with two endangered Spanish Celtic-type pony breeds, the Asturcon and Pottok.
The most notable stallion in the early history of the breed was a Thoroughbred named Marske, the sire of Eclipse, and a great-grandson of the Darley Arabian. Marske was sold to a Ringwood farmer for 20 guineas on the death of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, and was used to breed with "country mares" in the 1760s.
In the 1850s and 1860s, the quality of the ponies was noted to be declining, a result of poor choice of breeding stallions, and the introduction of Arab to improve the breed was recommended. The census of stock of 1875 reported just under three thousand ponies grazing the Forest, and by 1884 the number had dropped to 2,250. Profits from the sale of young ponies affected the number of mares that commoners bred in subsequent years. The drop in numbers on the Forest may have been a consequence of introducing Arab blood to the breed in the 1870s, resulting in fewer animals suitable for use as pit ponies, or to the increase in the profits from running dairy cattle instead of ponies. The Arab blood may have reduced the ponies' natural landrace hardiness to thrive on the open Forest over winter. Numbers of ponies on the Forest also declined as a result of demand for more refined-looking ponies for riding and driving work prior to the introduction of motor vehicles. Later, the Second World War drove up the demand for, and thus, the market value of, young animals for horse meat.
Founded in 1891, the Society for the improvement of New Forest Ponies organised a stallion show and offered financial incentives to encourage owners of good stallions to run them on the Forest. In 1905 the Burley and District NF Pony Breeding and Cattle Society was set up to start the stud book and organise the Breed Show; the two societies merged in 1937 to form the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society. Overall numbers of livestock grazing the Forest, including ponies, tended to decline in the early twentieth century; in 1945 there were just 571 ponies depastured. By 1956 the number of ponies of all breeds on the Forest had more than doubled to 1,341. Twenty years later pony numbers were up to 3,589, rising to 4,112 in 1994, before dipping back below four thousand until 2005. As of 2011, there were 4,604 ponies grazing on the New Forest.
In 2014, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) conservation charity watch-listed the New Forest pony in its "minority breed" category, given the presence of less than 3,000 breeding females in the forest. Over the course of five years, the number of foals born each year had dropped by two-thirds (from 1,563 to just 423 in 2013) – a change attributed by The New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society to a declining market, and by the New Forest Verderers to steps that had been taken to improve the quality rather than the quantity of foals.
For a variety of reasons, including normal trade in the area and attempts to improve the breed, Arabian, Thoroughbred, Welsh Pony, and Hackney blood had been added to ponies in the New Forest. Over time, however, the better-quality ponies were sold off, leaving the poorer-quality and less hardy animals as the Forest breeding stock. To address this situation, as well as to increase the stock's hardiness and restore native type, in the early twentieth century animals from other British native mountain and moorland pony breeds such as the Fell, Dales, Highland, Dartmoor, and Exmoor were introduced to the Forest. This practice ended in 1930, and since that time, only purebred New Forest stallions may be turned out. The New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society has been publishing the stud book since 1960. New Forest ponies have been exported to many parts of the world, including Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and many countries now have their own breed societies and stud books.
In the past, smaller ponies were used as pit ponies. Today the New Forest pony and related crossbreeds are still the "working pony of choice" for local farmers and commoners, as their sure-footedness, agility, and sound sense will carry them (and their rider) safely across the varied and occasionally hazardous terrain of the open Forest, sometimes at great speed, during the autumn drifts. New Forest ponies also are used today for gymkhanas, show jumping, cross-country, dressage, driving, and eventing.
The ponies can carry adults and in many cases compete on equal terms with larger equines while doing so. For example, in 2010, the New Forest Pony Enthusiasts Club (NFPEC), a registered riding club whose members compete only on purebred registered New Forest ponies, won the Quadrille competition at the London International Horse Show at Olympia. This was a significant win, as the British Riding Clubs Quadrille is a national competition, with only four teams from the whole of Britain selected to compete at the National Final.
Ponies on the New Forest
The ponies grazing the New Forest are considered to be iconic. They, together with the cattle, donkeys, pigs, and sheep owned by commoners' (local people with common grazing rights), are called "the architects of the Forest": it is the grazing and browsing of the commoners' animals over a thousand years which created the New Forest ecosystem as it is today.
The cattle and ponies living on the New Forest are not completely feral, but are owned by commoners, who pay an annual fee for each animal turned out. The animals are looked after by their owners and by the Agisters employed by the Verderers of the New Forest. The Verderers are a statutory body with ancient roots, who share management of the forest with the Forestry Commission and National park authority Approximately 80 per cent of the animals depastured on the New Forest are owned by just 10 per cent of the commoning families.
Ponies living full-time on the New Forest are almost all mares, although there are also a few geldings. For much of the year the ponies live in small groups, usually consisting of an older mare, her daughters, and their foals, all keeping to a discrete area of the Forest called a "haunt." Under New Forest regulations, mares and geldings may be of any breed. Although the ponies are predominantly New Foresters, other breeds such as Shetlands and their crossbred descendants may be found in some areas.
Stallions must be registered New Foresters, and are not allowed to run free all year round on the Forest. They normally are turned out only for a limited period in the spring and summer, when they gather several groups of mares and youngstock into larger herds and defend them against other stallions. A small number (usually fewer than 50) are turned out, generally between May and August. This ensures that foals are born neither too early (before the spring grass is coming through), nor too late (as the colder weather is setting in and the grazing and browsing on the Forest is dying back) in the following year.
Colts are assessed in their third year by the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society for suitability to be kept as stallions; any animal failing the assessment must be gelded. Once approved, every spring (usually in March), the stallions must pass the Verderers' assessment before they are permitted onto the Forest to breed. The stallion scheme resulted in a reduction of genetic diversity in the ponies running out on the New Forest, and to counteract this and preserve the hardiness of Forest-run ponies, the Verderers introduced the Bloodline Diversity Project, which will use hardy Forest-run mares, mostly over eleven years old, bred to stallions that have not been run out on the Forest, or closely related to those that have.
Drifts to gather the animals are carried out in autumn. Most colts and some fillies are removed, along with any animals considered too "poor" to remain on the Forest over the winter. The remaining fillies are branded with their owner's mark, and many animals are wormed. Many owners choose to remove a number of animals from the Forest for the winter, turning them out again the following spring. Animals surplus to their owner's requirements often are sold at the Beaulieu Road Pony Sales, run by the New Forest Livestock Society.Tail hair of the ponies is trimmed, and cut into a recognisable pattern to show that the pony's grazing fees have been paid for the year. Each Agister has his own "tail-mark", indicating the area of the Forest where the owner lives. The Agisters keep a constant watch over the condition of the Forest-running stock, and an animal may be "ordered off" the Forest at any time. The rest of the year, the lives of the ponies are relatively unhindered unless they need veterinary attention or additional feeding, when they are usually taken off the Forest.
The open nature of the New Forest means that ponies are able to wander onto roads. The ponies actually have right of way over vehicles and many wear reflective collars in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities, but despite this, many ponies, along with commoners' cattle, pigs, and donkeys are killed or injured in road traffic accidents every year. Human interaction with ponies is also a problem; well meaning but misguided visitors to the forest frequently feed them, which can create dietary problems and sickness (e.g. colic) and cause the ponies to adopt an aggressive attitude in order to obtain human food.
New Forest ponies are raced in an annual point to point meeting in the Forest, usually on Boxing Day, finishing at a different place each year. The races do not have a fixed course, but instead are run across the open Forest, so competitors choose their own routes around obstructions such as inclosures (forestry plantations), fenced paddocks, and bogs. Riders with a detailed knowledge of the Forest are thus at an advantage. The location of the meeting place is given to competitors on the previous evening, and the starting point of the race is revealed once riders have arrived at the meeting point.
Source - Wikipedia
The Timor Pony was developed on Timor Island, likely from Indian breeds of horses and ponies that were imported to the island. The Timor Pony is thought to be closely related to the Flores Pony, which was developed on nearby Flores Island. Both breeds are used by the local people for cattle work, as well as riding, driving, and light farm work. Many of these ponies have been exported to Australia, where they have had an influence on the breeding of the Australian Pony.
Timor Ponies are strong, frugal, and agile, and have a quiet and willing temperament. The ponies have a narrow frame, short back, muscular neck, prominent withers, and a sloping croup. The shoulders tend to be straight, but the legs and feet are strong. The ponies usually stand 10 to 12 hands high (40 to 48 inches (102 to 122 cm)), and are usually brown, black, and bay, but a few are gray. The Flores Pony is usually around 12.1 hh and the dominant colors are bay and chestnut.
Sixty Timor Ponies that were imported into Australia formed the foundation of the Coffin Bay Pony breed that was developed in South Australia.
The Timor Pony is referenced in the poem The Man from Snowy River by Banjo Patterson first published in 1890.
Source - Wikipedia
The Caspian is a small horse breed native to Northern Iran. Although its original height probably ranged between 9 and 11.2 hands (36 and 46 inches, 91 and 117 cm) it is termed a horse rather than a pony because, size apart, it has much in common with horses in terms of conformation, gaits and character. It is believed to be one of the oldest horse or pony breeds in the world, descended from small Mesopotamian equines that, in competition with larger animals, had faded from attention by the 7th century AD.
The horse breed was brought to public notice again when rediscovered in 1965 by Louise Firouz, an American-born breeder of Iranian horses living in Iran. In 2011, the remains of a horse dating back to 3400 B.C.E. were found at Gohar Tappeh, Iran, giving rise to claims that the Caspian is the oldest known breed of domestic horse that still exists. It is also called Khazar Horse, after one of Caspian Sea's native names in Iran.
Caspian horses generally stand between 100 to 120 cm (39 to 47 in) tall, although better feeding conditions outside of Iran often result in taller specimens. They have a short, fine head with a vaulted forehead, large eyes and short ears. The muzzle is small and the nostrils large and low on the head. Overall the body is slim, with a graceful neck, with sloping shoulders, straight back, good withers and a high-set tail on a level croup. The legs are strong and so are the hooves, which are oval-shaped and do resemble those of the ass more than the horse. Despite its size, a Caspian closely resembles the Arabian, which is recognized as its modern descendant.
Caspians are described by Louise Firouz as kind, intelligent and willing. They are spirited but without meanness, and even stallions can be ridden by children. Their gaits are long, and they occasionally exhibit an ambling "single-foot" gait. Despite their small size, they are good jumpers. Although small, they are morphologically and phenotypically horse-like, and were originally referred to as "miniature horses". Now that the word "miniature" is more usually associated with genetically-constructed "toy" horses, the term is no longer used to describe the Caspian Horse.
The Caspian Horse is extremely hardy, with strong feet that rarely need shoeing unless consistently working on very hard or stony ground. Great length from hip to hock may be a factor in their incredible jumping ability. The usual colours are bay, grey, black, dun or chestnut. A few have white markings on the head and legs. Some lack chestnuts or ergots.
Genetics and phenotype
There are experts who classify the Caspian horse as one that does not directly fall into the four ancestral types, namely the Northern European, Northern Steppe, Southern Steppe, and the Iberian/Mediterranean, making it unique and an important link to the breed of ancient horses. It is this reason the Caspian is considered to be one of the rarest breeds of horses, along with the Przewalski horse and the Akhal Teke.
Although there are no records of breeding prior to 1965, the foundation animals included in the International Caspian Stud Book were proven by Louise Firouz to breed true to type and their descendants have, for the most part, retained Caspian characteristics. They are therefore an established breed. Improved living conditions outside Iran have produced Caspians that have grown larger than their Iranian foundation parents; modern Caspians range between 10hh (102 cm) and occasionally 12.2 hh(127 cm), averaging 11.2 hh (117 cm).
Research has shown that Caspian and Turkoman horses occupy positions in phylogenetic analysis that has given rise to a hypothesis that they could be ancestral to all other oriental type breeds studied to date. However, close study of Caspian and other equid skeletons by Firouz and others found several anomalies unique to the Caspian:
A partial answer to the existence of the Caspian is the fact that the Persian Empire, which flourished in the first millennium B.C, has been called "the first great road empire". Before the Romans built their first road for marching men, the Persians constructed broad straight dirt roads, well maintained for speedy couriers and busy senior administrators. Herodotus wrote that:
"There is nothing in the world which travels faster than these Persian couriers. It is said that men and horses are stationed along the road…a man and a horse for each day. Nothing stops these couriers from covering their allotted stage in the quickest possible time, neither snow, rain, heat nor darkness."
The origin of the Caspian is said to be the mountainous regions of northern Iran, which explains how the breed is tough, athletic, and nimble. Indeed, the oldest known specimen of the Caspian horse was found in 2011, in a cemetery dating back to 3400 B.C.E., in the archaeological dig at Gohar Tappeh in the province of Mazandaran in northern Iran, between the cities of Neka and Behshahr. They were depicted in ancient art, where they appeared in scenes pulling chariots. The horse was identified by its "form, figure, and size" as having a light frame, thin bones, short, fine head with a pronounced forehead, large eyes, short ears, and small muzzle. The Caspians were first mentioned in recorded sources sometime in 600 CE.
The Persian Empire required land transport on a huge scale. They were the first people to breed horses especially for strength and speed. That these horses were very small by modern standards is shown by a miniature golden chariot, a toy or perhaps a votive offering, found in the so-called Oxus Treasure, discovered in the extreme east of the empire but apparently made in central Persia. The vehicle was obviously built for speed. Its wheels are higher than the horses, which are themselves of lesser height than the two passengers - and not because of the status of the passengers. Neil MacGregor likens this vehicle to a Ferrari or Porsche amongst cars – fast and luxurious. King Darius (the Great) trusted his life to the little horses during lion hunts, and honoured them on his famous Trilingual Seal.
As seen on the bas reliefs on the great staircase at Persepolis the Persian Shah demanded tributes of only first class animals. Those depicted were probably from Lydia in Turkey, judging by the grooms' appearance, and the horses are of similar size to the four in the Oxus Treasure. Skeletons with the same bone structure as the Caspian were found at Hamadan.
Yet the fine little horses so valued by the Persian Empire virtually disappeared from history after libraries and monuments were destroyed in the great Mongol and Islamic conquests. Almost no further mention was found of them after 700 AD and until 1965, modern scholars believed that they had become extinct.
It is now assumed that the modern Caspian descended from the great pool of quality stock that once formed the essential foundation of the Persian Empire. Caspians, known locally as moulekor pouseki ponies ("little muzzle"), now inhabit an area in the north of Iran between the Caspian Sea and the Elburz Mountains. Horses potentially related to the Caspian have also been identified in a much wider range, as history might lead us to expect.
Rediscovered in 1965
The specimens discovered since 1965 originated mainly from peasant-owned stock and were not bred selectively, so it may seem remarkable that animals of such quality have survived in a relatively unaltered form. In addition, peasants in the Alborz Mountains habitually turn their stock out on the hills in semi-feral conditions, where they are vulnerable to attack by predators. Natural selection would probably have favoured an animal that was tough and athletic, but there is evidence to suggest that their small size may be due to recessive genes. Peasants have said that occasionally a larger mare and stallion will produce such a foal.
At first thought to be a pony, the Caspian Horse was re-discovered in 1965 in this mountainous region of northern Iran by the American-born breeder of Iranian horses, Louise Firouz, while searching for small ponies to be ridden by children. She saw a small bay stallion in the town of Amol pulling a clumsy cart, but with the body of a "well-bred oriental horse." She purchased the stallion, naming him Ostad (and later nicknaming him 'The Professor' due to his 'wise' nature). Following her discovery, Firouz concluded:
" ….. there was an elusive beauty and grace about this small horse which did not seem to fit into the accepted picture of ponies. Ponies are chunky, strong little equids generally developed under austere conditions of climate and food. Why a "pony" on the relatively lush shores of the temperate Caspian: and, in spite of his small size, was the light, graceful animal on the Caspian a pony at all? Was there any historical precedent for a pony-sized horse in Iran and, if so, how well documented was it? These questions initiated a study in the spring of 1965 to determine the range, nature and historical precedent for a horse of this size in Iran."
With seven mares and six stallions, Firouz began a breeding program at her riding school in Norouzabad, with the horses she named "Caspian" from the area where she had found them. The horses themselves were much enjoyed by the children; Ostad became a successful sire of children's ponies and was ridden daily in the company of mares. Firouz started the Iranian stud book in 1966. In 1973 the stud was sold to the Shah of Iran, who established the Royal Horse Society at the Norouzabad Stud.
In late 1965, while visiting her family in Great Falls, Virginia, Firouz told Kathleen McCormick the Caspian story and showed photographs of the ponies she had brought to Norouzabad. They decided to export a Caspian stallion from Iran to the United States and McCormick selected the foundation stallion Jehan from the photographs. In April 1966, William M. Santoro, DVM, accompanied Jehan on the four-day, 8,000-mile journey to New York. Due to the difficulties experienced in exporting Jehan from Iran, only a part-bred breeding program was established in the US at that time and plans to import mares were put on hold. In 1975 a further stallion was exported to Venezuela from Iran.
Meanwhile, a new herd of twenty mares and three stallions established on the Turkoman Steppes by Firouz, suffered repeated and fatal wolf attacks. This forced the emergency evacuation of six mares and a stallion to the Caspian Stud UK in 1976 and the remainder were taken over by the Royal Horse Society of Iran. They were later widely dispersed during the Iranian Revolution, leaving only one traceable stallion. The subsequent ban on keeping horses ended the breeding programme in Iran until 1986, when Firouz found and purchased three mares and a stallion.
During the Iran/Iraq war, most horses were swept up to aid the war effort, but in 1989, Firouz was invited to inspect the remaining horses for possible Caspian breeding stock, resulting in six more potential foundation animals. These horses founded her "Persicus" stud. In 1994, seven of her Caspians were exported for breeding in England and in 1995 several Caspians from the UK, Australia and New Zealand were shipped to the USA. After her husband's death, Firouz sold the Persicus stud to the Iranian Ministry of Agriculture, which has continued her breeding and research programmes in Iran. Louise Firouz died in May 2008.
Although the Caspian must still be considered rare, the combined efforts of breeders across the world have established the breed in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, and in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Breed Societies are affiliated to the International Caspian Stud Book.
The horses are mainly used in the towns of Amol, Babol, Shahi and Rasht in Northern Iran, as cart ponies, They are valued for their speed and ability to pull or carry heavy loads in the narrow streets and bazaars. During the late 1960s, Caspian stallions from the Norouzabad riding school were raced on the prestigious Tehran racetrack by small children wearing jockey silks, by courtesy of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Caspians are known for their good temperaments and "horse-like" personalities. As noted by Firouz, stallions are frequently handled by children and, like Firouz, some owners turn several out together for exercise and companionship in the absence of mares.
With their comfortably narrow conformation, Caspians make excellent children's mounts. Their long, level paces, natural grace and balance make them very suitable for dressage. Sensible but active, they can be impressive in mounted games, gymkhana and pony racing.
In harness they make a smart, responsive light driving pony and have successfully competed in national scurry and cross-country obstacle driving. Their extraordinary jumping ability makes them highly competitive for show jumping and eventing.
Crossbred with larger breeds, including Thoroughbreds and Arabians, they produce fine show ponies, show jumpers and eventers for the taller child. Another popular cross is with the Welsh Pony. Having been noted that the appearance, characteristics and athletic abilities of Caspians are passed in good measure to part-bred offspring, the Caspian Horse is being included in breeding programmes to produce the ideal Sports Pony. There are stud books in most recognised Caspian societies for part-bred Caspian.
Source - Wikipedia
The Dales pony is one of the United Kingdom's native mountain and moorland pony breeds. The breed is known for its strength, hardiness, stamina, courage, intelligence, and good disposition. The history of the modern Dales pony is strongly linked to the history of lead mining in the Dales area of Yorkshire, and it was originally a working pony descended from a number of breeds. A breed registry was created in 1916, and the breed was used extensively by the British Army in both world wars. The Dales pony almost became extinct during the Second World War, but post-war conservation efforts have had some success in rebuilding the population. Today it is used for many different activities, but population numbers are still low and this has led to it being considered "critical" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and "threatened" by The Livestock Conservancy.
Type: Mountain Pony
Colours: Black, brown and grey
Stick size: 135-145cm
The Dales pony is ideally 13 to 14 hands (52 to 56 inches, 132 to 142 cm). The head is straight, neat, and broad between the eyes, with a fine muzzle and incurving ears. The body is fairly short in the back, with a broad and deep rib cage, long, broad and well-muscled quarters, a well-muscled neck of a good length joining neatly into strong withers and strong sloping shoulders. The legs are very muscular, with hard, dense bones, clearly defined tendons, flexible pasterns, and large round hooves with open heels. The mane, tail and leg feathers are straight, silky and abundant.
The majority of Dales ponies are black, though brown, bay, grey and roan colours are also acceptable. The only white markings permitted on the head are a star and/or a snip; stripes, blazes, and white muzzles are not allowed. The hind legs may have a small amount of white, not extending above the fetlock joint, though ponies with excess white markings may be registered in the B register of the stud book. A Dales pony should move with a great deal of energy and power, lifting the hooves well clear of the ground. The over-all impression should be of an alert, courageous but calm and kind animal. Ponies which do not meet the physical standard set by the breed registry may be registered as "B-status", meaning that they are of Dales Pony bloodlines but do not have the proper appearance or gaits. Foals by Dales stallions and non-Dales mares may be registered as part-breds. Foals out of Dales mares and non-Dales stallions may not be registered, as the stud book wishes to promote breeding of purebred ponies to maintain the current population levels.
Horses have been present and used in the Dales area from early times. Horse remains dating to Roman times were found in the Ribchester area of the Dales, during North Pennines Archaeology's excavations at land behind the Black Bull Inn in 2009. The Romans themselves named an ancient British tribe to the east of the Pennines the Gabrantovici, or 'horse-riding warriors'. The history of the modern Dales pony is strongly linked to the history of lead mining in Dales area of England, which stretches from the Derbyshire peaks to the Scottish borders. Lead has been mined in this area since Roman times, and Richard Scrope, then Chancellor of England, owned lead mines at Wensleydale in the 14th century. Iron Ore, fuel for smelting, and finished lead were all carried on pack ponies, with each pony carrying up to 240 lb (110 kg) at a time. Pack pony trains of up to 20 ponies worked 'loose' (not led), under the supervision of one mounted train leader.
The modern Dales pony is descended from a number of breeds, with the original working ponies being bred by crossing the Scottish Galloway Pony with native Pennine pony mares in the Dales area in the late 1600s. A century later Norfolk Cob bloodlines were brought into the breed, which traced back to the Darley Arabian, and most Dales ponies today have pedigrees which can trace back directly to this influential horse (one of the foundation sires of the modern Thoroughbred). Clydesdale, Norfolk Trotter, and Yorkshire Roadster blood was added to improve the trotting ability of the Dales.The bloodline of the Welsh Cob Stallion Comet was also added during the 19th century to increase the size of the Dales ponies, leaving a lasting resemblance between the two breeds.# With their agility, power and speed, the Dales had great success in trotting races of the 18th century and were also used in organized hunts. The Fell Pony continued to intermingle with the Dales into the early 20th century. In 1912, Dalesman was chosen as a Fell premium stallion by the Board of Agriculture. In 1924, he was re-registered as a Dales pony.
The Dales pony stud book was opened in 1916, with the formation of the Dales Pony Improvement Society, after the introduction of Clydesdale blood threatened to affect the quality of the Dales ponies. Stallion premiums were awarded first by the Board of Agriculture, and later by the War Office, to ensure that stallions displaying the best of the breed characteristics were used for breeding. Members of the breed served with the British army in Europe during the First World War. In the early 1920s, 200 Dales ponies were purchased by the British army. The army took only the finest stock, with the least amount of draft blood. The specifications for the purchased ponies were very specific: all were older than five years, stood 14.0 to 14.2 hands high, weighed at least 1,000 pounds (450 kg) with a girth measurement of 68 inches (170 cm), and were able to pack at least 294 pounds (133 kg) in mountainous terrain.
The breed almost disappeared during the Second World War as ponies were taken for breeding vanners (animals which pulled commercial wagons), for work in towns and cities, and for use by the British Army as pack and artillery ponies. Many ponies used by the military in Europe were left behind after the war, and in many cases they were slaughtered for food. The population declined during the war to such an extent that only four new fillies were registered in 1955. However, the post-war future of the Dales pony was preserved by a small group of breeders, who began to search for unregistered ponies of the proper type. The 1960s saw three Fell pony stallions interbred with Dale mares, to help save the breed. In 1964 the Dales Pony Society underwent reorganisation. At the same time, a "Grading-Up Register" was developed, with the aim of identifying and breeding ponies with characteristics of the original Dales type. The grading-up program was successful, and by 1971, populations had been rebuilt to the point that the program was discontinued. By the 1990s, the population had grown enough to allow some ponies to be exported – twelve to Canada in 1991 and four to the US in 1994. By 1999, there were 60 registered ponies in North America, and an estimated 800 worldwide. In the same year, the Dales Pony Society of America was formed as the official US sub-registry of the UK breed registry.
The Dales pony has moved to "critical" status with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, meaning there is a United Kingdom population of fewer than 300 registered breeding females. The US-based Livestock Conservancy lists the breed as "threatened", meaning that population numbers worldwide are sub-5,000 and annual US registrations are less than 1,000.
The Dales pony is one of three breeds known to be a carrier of the fatal genetic disease foal immunodeficiency syndrome (FIS). FIS is a recessive disease; affected foals are born when they inherit the gene from both parents. Foals with FIS appear normal when born, but have a compromised immune system and anemia, leading to untreatable infections and death within three months. Following the development of a genetic test in 2010, 12% of Dales ponies tested in the UK were found to be carriers. The use of genetic testing has allowed breeders to avoid mating two carrier animals, so that the disease is avoided in foals.
Dales ponies today compete in show jumping, cross-country, dressage, driving, and eventing. Their calm, kind temperament, combined with their ability to carry heavy weights for long distances, has made them an ideal pony for endurance riding and trekking holidays, as they can carry novice or experienced riders, adults or children alike, over all kinds of terrain and for long distances. Small herds still roam free in the eastern Pennines, and in 2007 there were estimated to be around 30 mares of breeding age in feral herds.
Source - Wikipedia
The Haflinger, also known as the Avelignese, is a breed of horse developed in Austria and northern Italy (namely Hafling in South Tyrol region) during the late nineteenth century. Haflinger horses are relatively small, are always chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, have distinctive gaits described as energetic but smooth, and are well-muscled yet elegant. The breed traces its ancestry to the Middle Ages; there are several theories for its origin. Haflingers, developed for use in mountainous terrain, are known for their hardiness. Their current conformation and appearance are the result of infusions of bloodlines from Arabian and various European breeds into the original native Tyrolean ponies. The foundation sire, 249 Folie, was born in 1874; by 1904 the first breeders' cooperative was formed. All Haflingers can trace their lineage back to Folie through one of seven bloodlines. World Wars I and II, as well as the Great Depression, had a detrimental effect on the breed, and lower-quality animals were used at times to save the breed from extinction. During World War II, breeders focused on horses that were shorter and more draft-like, favored by the military for use as packhorses. The emphasis after the war shifted toward animals of increased refinement and height.
In the postwar era, the Haflinger was indiscriminately crossed with other breeds and some observers feared the breed was in renewed danger of extinction. However, starting in 1946, breeders focused on producing purebred Haflingers and a closed stud book was created. Interest in the breed increased in other countries and between 1950 and 1974 the population grew, even while the overall European horse population decreased. Population numbers continued to increase steadily and as of 2005, almost 250,000 Haflingers existed worldwide. There are breeding farms in several countries, although most of the breeding stock still comes from Austria. In 2003, a Haflinger became the first horse to be cloned, resulting in a filly named Prometea.
Haflingers have many uses including light draft, harness work and various under-saddle disciplines such as endurance riding, dressage, equestrian vaulting and theraputic riding. They are also still used by the Austrian and German armies for work in rough terrain. The World Haflinger Federation (WHF), the international governing body that controls breed standards for the Haflinger, is made up of a confederation of 22 national registeries, and helps set breeding objectives, guidelines and rules for its member organizations.
The name "Haflinger" comes from the village of Hafling, which today is in northern Italy. The breed is also called the Avelignese, from the Italian name for Hafling, which is Avelengo or previously Aveligna. Haflingers are always chestnut in color and come in shades ranging from a light gold to a rich golden chestnut or liver hue. The mane and tail are white or flaxen. The height of the breed has increased since the end of World War II, when it stood an average of 13.3 hands (55 inches, 140 cm). The desired height today is between 13.2 and 15 hands (54 and 60 inches, 137 and 152 cm). Breeders are discouraged from breeding horses under the minimum size, but taller individuals may pass inspection if they otherwise meet requirements of the breed registry. The breed has a refined head and light poll. The neck is of medium length, the withers are pronounced, the shoulders sloping and the chest deep. The back is medium-long and muscular, the croup is long, slightly sloping and well-muscled. The legs are clean, with broad, flat knees and powerful hocks showing clear definition of tendons and ligaments. The Haflinger has rhythmic, ground-covering gaits. The walk is relaxed but energetic. The trot and canter are elastic, energetic, and athletic with a natural tendency to be light on the forehand and balanced. There is some knee action, and the canter has a very distinct motion forwards and upwards. One important consideration in breeding during the second half of the 20th century was temperament. A requirement for a quiet, kind nature has become part of official breed standards and is checked during official inspections. Some sources recognize two types of Haflinger, a shorter, heavier type used for draft work and a taller, lighter type used for pleasure riding, light driving and under-saddle competition. The Food and Agriculture Organisation recognizes both an "Avelignese" and an "Avelignese Tradizionale" as existing in Italy, although, as of 2007, only 13 of the latter existed, including only one breeding stallion. However, all breed organizations recognize and register only one type.
All Haflingers today trace their lineage through one of seven stallion lines to Folie, the foundation stallion of the breed. Usually, colts are given a name beginning with the letter or letters denoting their stallion line, and fillies are given a name beginning with the first letter of their dam's name. The exceptions are France, where foals are given a name beginning with a letter of the alphabet designated to be used for that year; and Italy, where colts' names must begin with the letter or letters designating the stallion line, while fillies' names begin with the letter designated for a given year. The seven stallion lines are:
Bolzano and Willi were great-great grandsons of Folie, while the rest were great-great-great grandsons. Especially in the early years of the breed's history, some inbreeding occurred, both by accident and design, which served to reinforce the breed's dominant characteristics. During the 1980s and 1990s, several studies were conducted to examine morphological differences among the breed lines. Significant differences were found in some characteristics, including height and proportions; these have been used to help achieve breeding objectives, especially in Italy during the 1990s.
The history of the Haflinger horse traces to the Middle Ages. Origins of the breed are uncertain, but there are two main theories. The first is that Haflingers descend from horses abandoned in the Tyrolean valleys in central Europe by East Goths fleeing from Byzantine troops after the fall of Conza in 555 AD. These abandoned horses are believed to have been influenced by Oriental bloodlines and may help explain the Arabian physical characteristics seen in the Haflinger. A type of light mountain pony was first recorded in the Etsch Valley in 1282, and was probably the ancestor of the modern Haflinger. The second theory is that they descended from a stallion from the Kingdom of Burgundy sent to Margrave Louis of Brandenburg by his father, Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, when the Margrave married Princess Margarete Maultasch of the Tyrol in 1342. It has also been suggested that they descend from the prehistoric Forest horses. Haflingers have close connections to theNoriker, a result of the overlapping geographic areas where the two breeds were developed. Whatever its origins, the breed developed in a mountainous climate and was well able to thrive in harsh conditions with minimal maintenance.
The breed as it is known today was officially established in the village of Hafling in the Etschlander Mountains, then located in Austria-Hungary. The Arabian influence was strongly reinforced in the modern Haflinger by the introduction of the stallion El Bedavi, imported to Austria in the 19th century. El-Bedavi's half-Arabian great-grandson, El-Bedavi XXII, was bred at the Austro-Hungarian stud at Radautz and was sire of the breed's foundation sire, 249 Folie, born in 1874 in the Vinschqau. Folie's dam was a native Tyrolean mare of refined type. All Haflingers today must trace their ancestry to Folie through one of seven stallion lines (A, B, M, N, S, ST, and W) to be considered purebred. The small original gene pool, and the mountain environment in which most original members of the breed were raised, has resulted in a very fixed physical type and appearance. In the early years of the breed's development Oriental stallions such as Dahoman, Tajar and Gidran were also used as studs, but foals of these stallions lacked many key Haflinger traits and breeding to these sires was discontinued. After the birth of Folie in 1874, several Austrian noblemen became interested in the breed and petitioned the government for support and direction of organized breeding procedures. It was 1899 before the Austrian government responded, deciding to support breeding programs through establishment of subsidies; high-quality Haflinger fillies were among those chosen for the government-subsidized breeding program. Since then the best Haflinger fillies and colts have been chosen and selectively bred to maintain the breed's quality. Horses not considered to meet quality standards were used by the army as pack animals. By the end of the 19th century Haflingers were common in both South and North Tyrol, and stud farms had been established in Styria, Salzburg and Lower Austria. In 1904, the Haflinger Breeders' Cooperative was founded in Molten, in South Tyrol, with the aim of improving breeding procedures, encouraging pure-breeding and establishing a studbook and stallion registry.
World War I resulted in many Haflingers being taken into military service and the interruption of breeding programs. After the war, under the terms of the Treaty of Saint Germain, South Tyrol (including Hafling) was ceded to Italy, while North Tyrol remained in Austria. This split was extremely detrimental to the Haflinger breed, as most of the brood mares were in South Tyrol in what was now Italy, while the high-quality breeding stallions had been kept at studs in North Tyrol and so were still in Austria. Little effort at cooperation was made between breeders in North and South Tyrol, and in the 1920s a new Horse Breeders' Commission was established in Bolzano in Italy, which was given governmental authority to inspect state-owned breeding stallions, register privately owned stallions belonging to Commission members, and give prize money for horse show competition. The Commission governed the breeding of the Italian population of both the Haflinger and the Noriker horse. In 1921, because of the lack of breeding stallions in Italy, a crossbred Sardinian-Arabian stallion was used for the Haflinger breeding program, as well as many lower-quality purebred Haflingers.
If not for the presence of Haflinger stallions at a stud farm in Stadl-Paura in Upper Austria after World War I, the Haflinger might well not exist in Austria today. Despite these stallions, the Haflinger breeding programs were not on solid footing in Austria, with governmental focus on other Austrian breeds and private breeding programs not large enough to influence national breeding practices. During this time, the breed was kept alive through crosses to the Hucul, Bosnian, Konik and Noriker breeds. In 1919 and 1920, the remaining stallions were assigned throughout Austria, many to areas that had hosted private breeding farms before the war. In 1921, the North Tyrolean Horse Breeders' Cooperative was formed in Zams, and in 1922, the first Haflinger Breeders' Show was held in the same location. Many extant Austrian Haflinger mares were considered to be of too low quality to be used as brood mares, and every effort was made to import higher-quality brood mares from the South Tyrol herds now in Italy. In 1926, the first studbook was established in North Tyrol. In the late 1920s, other cooperatives were established for Haflinger breeders in Weer and Wildschonau, and were able to gain government permission to purchase 100 Haflinger mares from South Tyrol and split them between North Tyrol, Upper Austria and Styria. This single transaction represented one third of all registered mares in South Tyrol, and many others were sold through private treaty, leaving the two regions comparable in terms of breeding-stock populations. In 1931, another breeders' cooperative was established in East Tyrol in Austria, and Haflinger breeding spread throughout the entire Tyrolean province.
The Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s dampened horse prices and had an unfavorable effect on Haflinger breeding, but from 1938 onwards markets improved as a result of the buildup for World War II. All crossbred horses and colts not of breeding quality could be sold to the army, and higher subsidies were given by the government to Haflinger breeders. However, the demands of the war also meant that many unregistered mares of Haflinger type were covered by registered stallions, and the resulting progeny were registered, resulting in a degradation of breeding stock. In 1935 and 1936, a breeding program was begun in Barvaria through the cooperation of the German agricultural authorities, military authorities and existing stud farms. The first government-run German Haflinger stud farm was established in Oberaudorf with brood mares from North and South Tyrol, and several private stud farms were established elsewhere in the country. The combination of a high demand for pack horses and variable amounts of breed knowledge of the purchasers led to the purchase of both high- and low-quality horses, which had mixed results on breed quality. Purchases by Bavarians also resulted in a further depletion of Austrian and Italian stock, already low from the population depletions of both world wars. However, the German Armed Forces were ready purchasers, and the purchasing and breeding continued. Despite some claims that only purebred horses were registered, many well-known Bavarian studs had crossbred maternal lines. During World War II, Haflingers were bred to produce horses that were shorter and more draft-like for use as packhorses by the military. After the war, breeding emphasis changed to promote refinement and height.
Post War Period
After World War II, Haflinger breeding programs almost collapsed as the military stopped buying horses and government-run breeding centers were closed. Breeders continued to emphasize those features necessary for pack horses (the largest use by the military), but neglected other key Haflinger characteristics. Haflinger breeding had to change to create a horse that better fit modern trends toward recreational use. Around this time, all small breed cooperatives were combined into the Haflinger Breeders' Association of Tyrol. Post-World War II Tyrol, including the breeding center at Zams, was under the control of American forces, who slaughtered many horses to provide meat for hospitals. However, the troops did allow the breeding director to choose 30 stallions to be kept for breeding purposes. Those horses were relocated to the French-occupied Kops Alm high pasture in Vorarlberg, but they were subsequently stolen and never seen again. In other areas of Tyrol, all one- to three-year-old colts had been requisitioned by military breeding centers, and therefore it was necessary to treat colts not even a year old as potential breeding stallions. In the years after World War II, some observers feared that the breed was dying out because of indiscriminate crossing with other breeds.
At conferences in 1946 and 1947, the decision was made to breed Haflinger horses from pure bloodlines, creating a closed stud book with no new blood being introduced. The Tyrolean Haflinger Breeders' Association established its own stallion center and prohibited private breeders from keeping stallions, thus ensuring that the association maintained 100 percent control of breeding stallions. In Bavaria, several young stallions had been saved and breeders could privately own stallions. Bavarian and Tyrolean breeders maintained close ties and cooperated extensively. North Tyrolean breeders were also able to acquire several high-quality older stallions and lower-quality young stallions from South Tyrol. In 1947, the Federation of Austrian Haflinger Breeders was established as a governing organization for the provincial associations. At this time a large-scale breed show was held, attended by visitors from Switzerland, who soon after their return home sent a purchasing commission to Austria and were instrumental in founding the Haflinger population in Switzerland. Southern Tyrol had no difficulty in selling its horses, as all of Italy was in the market to purchase horses, and breeding populations spread as far south as Sicily
Between 1950 and 1974, even as the overall European equine population was dropping due to increased mechanization, the Haflinger population was increasing. In that time period, the population of registered Haflinger brood mares rose from 1,562 to 2,043. This was mainly a result of the increased marketing of the breed, and happened even as Norwegian Fjord horses were exported to Germany, reducing the resources available for Haflinger breeding programs. Through well-planned marketing campaigns, the Haflinger became the dominant small-horse breed in the region. In 1954, Yugoslavia and Italy purchased breeding stock from North Tyrol to establish their own Haflinger programs and in 1956 the German Democratic Republic followed suit. The first Haflingers were exported to the United States from Austria in 1958 by Tempel Smith of Tempel Farms in Illinois and into Czechoslovakia in 1959. Tyrolean Haflingers were purchased by the Netherlands and Turkey in 1961. In Turkey they were both bred pure and crossed with the Karacabey breed. In 1963, the first Haflinger was exported to Great Britain, in 1969 two Haflinger mares were presented to Queen Elizabeth ll upon her official visit to Austria, and in 1970, the Haflinger Society of Great Britain was established. The first Haflinger was exported to France in 1964, and they continued to be transferred to that country until 1975, when the breeding population became stable. Between 1980 and 2000, the population of Haflingers in France tripled. In 1965, the first international Haflinger show was held at Innsbruck, with horses from East and West Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Austria participating. Haflingers were first exported to Belgium in 1966, to Bhutan in 1968, and to Poland, Hungary and Albania in subsequent years. The importations to Bhutan encouraged interest in the breed in other parts of Asia. In 1974, the first Haflinger was imported to Australia. The first Canadian Haflinger was registered with the United States breed association in 1977, and a Canadian registry was formed in 1980. Between 1970 and 1975, Haflingers were also imported into Luxemburg, Denmark, Thailand, Columbia, Brazil, southwest Africa, Sweden and Ireland. They have also been imported into Japan. Haflingers maintained a population on every populated continent by the end of the 1970s. Worldwide breeding continued through the 1980s and 1990s, and population numbers increased steadily.
Although the Haflinger is now found all over the world, the majority of breeding stock still comes from Austria, where state studs own the stallions and carefully maintain the quality of the breed. However, there are breeding farms located in the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. As of 2007, Italian Haflingers had the largest population of any breed in that country. Due to selective breeding during the 1990s aiming to increase height, some breed lines became favored over others in Italy. A 2007 study found little inbreeding within the Italian Haflinger population as a whole, although certain less popular lines had a higher incidence due to the existence of fewer breeding stallions. Haflingers are bred throughout France, especially in the provinces of Brittany, Burgundy and Picardy, with between 350 and 400 foals born each year. Slovenia also has a small Haflinger population, with around 307 breeding mares and 30 breeding stallions as of 2008. A 2009 study found that although there was a very small amount of inbreeding in the population, it was increasing slightly over the years. As of 2005 there were almost 250,000 Haflingers in the world.
On May 28, 2003, a Haflinger filly named Prometea became the first horse clone born. Bred by Italian scientists, she was cloned from a mare skin cell, and was a healthy foal. In 2008, Prometea herself gave birth to the first offspring of an equine clone, a colt named Pegaso sired by a Haflinger stallion through artificial insemination. The American Haflinger Registry does not allow horses born as a result of cloning to be registered, although as of 2010 other nations' registries have not yet entered a decision on the topic. In January 2012, Breyer Horses created a model horse of the Haflinger.
Haflingers were bred to be versatile enough for many under-saddle disciplines, but still solid enough for draft and driving work. The Haflinger was originally developed to work in the mountainous regions of its native land, where it was used as a packhorse and for forestry and agricultural work. In the late 20th century Haflingers were used by the Indian Army in an attempt to breed pack animals for mountainous terrain, but the program was unsuccessful because of the Haflinger's inability to withstand the desert heat. The Austrian Army still uses Haflingers as packhorses in rough terrain. They are used most often in high Alpine terrain, with slopes up to 40 percent and steps of up to 40 centimetres (16 in). There are around 70 horses in use, held by the 6th Infantry Brigade and based in Hochfilzen. The Haflinger is also used by the German army for rough terrain work and demonstration purposes.
Today the breed is used in many activities that include draft and pack work, light harness and combined driving, and many under-saddle events, including western-style horse-show classes, trail and endurance riding, dressage, show jumping, vaulting, and therapeutic riding programs. They are used extensively as dressage horses for children, but are tall and sturdy enough to be suitable riding horses for adults. In the 1970s, British Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh competed with a driving team of four Haflingers. There are several national shows for Haflingers worldwide, including those in Germany, Great Britain and the United States. Despite the Austrian prohibitions against crossbreeding, other countries have practiced this to some extent. Good quality animals have been produced out of crosses between Haflingers and both Arabians and Andalusians. British enthusiasts maintain a partbred registry for Haflinger crosses. In Germany, horses that are 75 percent Haflinger and 25 percent Arabian are popular and are called Arabo-Haflingers. In Italy, where horse meat consumption is at the highest among all European Community members, Haflingers provide a large percentage of national production. Most are either bred specifically for meat production and slaughtered between the ages of 10 and 18 months, or as a result of health problems, or age. The Haflinger also produces the majority of the horse milk consumed in Germany.
Breed organisations exist in many countries to provide accurate documentation of Haflinger pedigrees and ownership, and to promote the Haflinger breed. Most are linked to each other through membership in the World Haflinger Federation (WHF), established in 1976. The WHF establishes international breeding guidelines, objectives and rules for studbook selection and performance tests. They also authorize European and World Shows and compile an annual list of Haflinger experts, or adjudicators. The WHF is the international umbrella organization, with 21 member organizations in 22 countries. Membership organizations include the Haflinger Horse Society of Australia, the Australian Haflinger Horse Breeders Association, the Canadian Haflinger Association, the Haflinger Pferdezuchtverband Tirol (Tyrolean Haflinger Breeding Association), the Italian Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Cavalli di Razza Haflinger Italia and the American Haflinger Registry, as well as a division for breeders in countries that are not already members. National organizations are allowed to become members of the WHF through agreeing to promote pure breeding and maintain the hereditary characteristics of the Haflinger breed. Member organizations must maintain both a purebred studbook and a separate part-bred studbook for animals with Arabian or other bloodlines.
A strict system of inspection, started in Austria, has evolved to ensure that only good quality stock meeting high standards is used for breeding. This is coupled with close maintenance of the studbook to maintain inspection validity. Mares must be inspected and registered with the stud book before they can be covered, and multiple forms are needed to prove covering and birth of a purebred Haflinger foal. Within six months of birth, foals are inspected, and those considered to have potential as breeding stock are given certificates of pedigree and branded. Horses are reinspected at three years old, checked against written association standards, and if they pass, are then entered into the studbook. After their final inspection Haflingers from Austria and Italy are branded with a firebrand in the shape of an edelweiss. Horses from Austria and from South Tyrol have the letter "H" in the center of the brand, while horses from all other parts of Italy have the letters "HI". Horses are graded based on conformation, action, bone, height, temperament and color. Mares must have a fully registered purebred pedigree extending six generations back to be considered for stud book acceptance. Stallions are registered separately. Colts must have a dam with a fully purebred pedigree, and are inspected based on hereditary reliability and likely breeding strength as well as the other qualifications. Each stallion's registration certification must show a fully purebred pedigree extending back four generations, as well as records of mares covered, percentages of pregnancies aborted, still-born and live-born, and numbers and genders of foals born. This information is used to match stallions and mares for breeding. Tyrolean colts undergo an initial assessment, and those not chosen must be either gelded or sold out of the Tyrolean breeding area. The chosen colts are reassessed every six months until a final inspection at the age of three, when the best stallions are chosen for Tyrolean breeding, after which they are purchased by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture and made available for breeding throughout the region. The others are either gelded or sold out of the region. Other countries base their registration and selection practices on Tyrolean ones, as is required by the WHF.
Source - Wikipedia
The Fjord horse or Norwegian Fjord Horse (Norwegian: fjordhest) is a relatively small but very strong horse breed from the mountainous regions of western Norway. It is an agile breed of light draught horse build. All Fjord horses are dun in colour, with five variations in shade recognised in the breed standard. One of the world's oldest breeds, it has been used for hundreds of years as a farm horse in Norway, and in modern times is popular for its generally good temperament. It is used both as a hanress horse and under saddle.
The Fjord horse has a distinct appearance. The breed's conformation differs from many other breeds in that it is a blend of draught horse muscling and bone, with smaller size and greater agility. It has a strong, arched neck, sturdy legs and good feet, and a compact, muscular body. The head is medium-sized and well defined with a broad, flat forehead and a straight or slightly dished face, with small ears and large eyes. Despite its small size, the breed is fully capable of carrying an adult human and pulling heavy loads. The hair coat becomes particularly heavy and thick in the winter.
The natural mane is long, thick, and heavy, but is usually clipped in a distinctive crescent shape to between five and ten centimetres (two to four inches) so that it stands straight up and emphasises the shape of the neck. This roached mane is thought to make for easier grooming. It also accentuates the horse's strong neck and full-length dorsal stripe. There is some feathering on the lower legs; however, the breed standard discourages profuse feathering.
There is no upper or lower limit for height set for the breed, but heights between 135 and 150 cm (13.1 and 14.3 hands; 53 and 59 inches) at the withers are recommended. The weight normally ranges from 400 to 500 kilograms (880 to 1,100 lb). Though some individuals may fall under the traditional cutoff between horses and ponies, the Fjord horse is considered a horse, regardless of height.
Fjord horses have a reputation for a generally good temperament.
All Fjord horses are dun. Dun is a body colour that is a tan, gold or related shade with darker (usually black or dark brown) points and primitive markings.The breed standard recognises five shade variations. These shades have been officially recognised in Norway since 1922. The hooves are most often dark, but can be a lighter brown colour on lighter-coloured horses.
The dun colour itself is a dominant dilution gene. All Fjord horses are dun; therefore they are homozygous or nearly so for dun colouration. No euine coat colour genetics studies have been done specifically on Fjord horses. But, if Fjord horses were not homozygous for the dun gene, then a dark-coloured, non-dun individual could occasionally occur in the breed. However, this is very rare or nonexistent today; dark cropouts existed in the past, but breed standardisation has favoured duns and the colour is now produced consistently.
The primitive markings associated with the dun gene are often quite vivid in the Fjord horse. These include the dorsal stripe, darker mane and tail, horizontal stripes on the back of the forearms, and, in rare cases, transverse striping across the withers. Some Fjord horses have small brown spots on the body or the head. These spots are called "Njal marks" after one of the foundation sires of the contemporary Fjord horse, who had such markings. Fjord horses are also consistent for having pangare traits: lighter hair on the muzzle, belly, inside of legs, and over the eyes. Some Fjord horses also carry the cream gene, which combines with the dun gene to create the lighter shades of the breed.
Fjord horses have a significant amount of lighter hairs on the outside edges of the mane and edges of the tail, and when teamed with the darker-coloured centre of the mane common to most colour shades gives a two-toned look that is more dramatic than seen in dun horses of other breeds. Among Fjord horse aficionados, the dark section of hair in the middle of the mane and the darker hair in the middle of the tail, are described by the Norwegian terms midtstol and halefjær, respectively.
White markings on Fjord horses are rare, but have been noted as long as written records have been kept of the breed. A small star is acceptable, but any other white or pink markings are considered undesirable. Norges Fjordhestlag (The Norwegian Fjord Horse Association) decided in 1982 that stallions of any age with any other white markings than a small white star cannot be accepted for breeding.
The Fjord horse breed standard recognises five colours. 90% of all Fjord horses are "brown dun" (the colour called "bay dun" in other breeds). The remaining 10% are either "red dun", "grey" (less often "grey dun", the colour known as grulla in other breeds), or two colours reflecting the influence of the cream gene: "white dun" (or "uls dun") and "yellow dun". The breed registeries for Fjord horses encourage preservation of all colours. The dun colour variations can be subtle and hard to distinguish unless horses of different shades are standing side by side. The colour terms are also non-standard when compared to English terminology more commonly used to describe horse coat colours in other breeds. This difference appears to be based in part from being derived from Norwegian language terms, which were set in 1922, and their English translations, which were made official in 1980. While these terms were set before equine coat colour genetics were fully understood, the variations do match up to modern genetic studies as variations of dun colour with the addition of other genetic factors.
Along with the recognised five shades of dun, two cream dilution alleles (CCr) on any other colour results in a horse with a light cream coat colour and blue eyes. This colour is called "kvit" ("white") in Norwegian, and is known as cremello, perlino or smokey cream in other breeds. A dun with double cream dilution will have faint or indistinguishable primitive markings. In the Fjord horse, Kvit was traditionally considered undesirable, and thus is a very rare colour in the breed due to intentional selection against it. Nonetheless, it is a normal colour within the gene pool, as the nature of cream genetics statistically will result in the occasional kvit horse any time two horses that both carry a single copy of the cream dilution are mated, such as an ulsblakkand/or a gulblakk.
The Fjord horse is one of the world's oldest and purest breeds. Horses were known to exist in Norway at the end of the last ice age. It is believed that the ancestors of the modern Fjord horse migrated to Norway and were domesticated over 4,000 years ago. Archaeological excavations at Viking burial sites indicate that the Fjord horse type has been selectively bred for at least 2,000 years. The Fjord horse and its ancestors have been used for hundreds of years as farm animals in western Norway. Even as late as World War ll, they were useful for work in mountainous terrain. The Fjord horse also has a long recorded history of pure breeding without crossbreeding from other sources.
The Fjord horse is featured as a charge on the coat of arms of the municipalities of Gloppen and Eid, both in Nordfjord.
The Fjord horse is strong enough for heavy work, such as plowing fields or pulling timber, yet light and agile enough to be a good riding and driving horse. They are also sure-footed in the mountains. Today, the Fjord horse is a favourite at Norwegian riding and therapeutic schools, as its generally mild temperament and small size make it suitable for children and disabled individuals. They are considered very good driving horses, and are commonly used in everything from competitions to tourist transport in Norway. They are also used as a sport horse, particularly in combined driving.
Source - Wikipedia
The Waler is an Australian breed of all-purpose horse developed from horses that were brought to the Australian colony in the 19th century. The name comes from their breeding origins in New South Wales; they were originally known as "New South Walers".
Origins and Characteristics
The first horses came to Australia from the Cape of Good Hope with the First Fleet in 1788. Subsequently, a variety of horse breeds were brought in that included the Thoroughbred, Arab, Timor Pony and heavy horses such as Clydesdale, Percheron and Suffolk Punch. Cross-breeding was practised extensively and what emerged was an all-purpose horse that proved essential to the development and exploration of the colony. While it was originally considered a "type" of horse, it gained the name “Waler” being the horse from the colony of New South Wales. The Waler had developed into a hardy horse with great endurance even when under extreme stress from lack of food and water. It was used as a general purpose farm horse; a stockman’s horse and were also used by bushrangers, troopers and exploration expeditions that traversed inland Australia. In later years they established world-wide reputation as a remount for Australia’s Mounted Infantry.
The Waler horses selected for Mounted Infantry duties were generally 14.5 – 15.5 hands high. Those over 16 hands were rejected for military use; unbroken horses, as well as those with grey and broken or spotted coat colours were also often rejected. The selected horses had to be of a good type that could carry a fully kitted out infantryman weighing upwards of 110 kg day after day.
The Walers carried the rider, saddle, saddle cloth, bridle, head collar, lead rope, a horseshoe case with one front and one hind shoe, nails, rations for the horse and rider, a bedroll, change of clothing, a 303 rifle and about 90 rounds of ammunition.
The gait of the Waler was considered ideal for an infantry mount; it could maintain a fast walk and could progress directly to a steady, level canter without resorting to a trot which was noisy, liable to dislodge gear and resulted in soreness in the horse's back. The infantry horse required docility, courage, speed, and athletic ability, as it carried the rider into battle. Heavier Waler types were selected and used for draught and packhorse duties.
The Waler was originally developed through need and became, by proxy, a horse suitable for military use. Australian horses were exported to India and New Zealand as early as 1814 and ramped up from the 1830s which developed into a steady trade in Walers used as cavalry remounts, artillery horses, riding hacks, chargers and carriage horses by the British Army in India. Records show that during the period 1871-1890 export of Australian Walers went from several hundred per year to over five thousand per year.
As early as 1814 Australian horses were shipped to New Zealand and by 1910 over 140,000 had left the country. By 1931 this number was close to half a million, including exports to East Asia, Pacific Islands and Europe.
It was this demand for tough Australian horses that provided the settlers with much-needed income and established the Waler's prominence.
In Australia's two wars of the early 20th century - the Second Boer War of 1899-1902 and World War l of 1914-1918, the Waler was the backbone of the Australian Light Horse mounted forces. During the Boer War, Australia dispatched 16,314 horses overseas for use by the Australian Infantry Forces. In the First World War, 121,324 Walers were sent overseas to the allied armies in Africa, Europe, India and Palestine for use by mounted infantry as well as Gun and Artillery horses and Field Ambulance horses. Of these, 39,348 served with the First Australian Imperial Force, mainly in the Middle East, while 81,976 were sent to India. Walers were especially suited to working in the harsh climate of the Sinai Peninsula and Palestine, where it proved superior to the camel as a means of transporting large bodies of troops.
Due to the costs said to be incurred for "returning horses home" with their mounts and also quarantine restrictions, only one Waler is known to have been returned to Australia; "Sandy", the mount of Major-General W.T. Bridges, an officer who died at Gallipoli in May 1915.
The English cavalry officer, Lt Col. RMP Preston DSO, summed up the Australian Light Horses' performance in his book, The Desert Mounted Corps saying: “there is no doubt that these hardy Australian horses make the finest cavalry mounts in the world…. “.
One well-known Waler was Major Michael Shanahan’s mount, "Bill the Bastard", who was allegedly unrideable except by Shanahan. Yet, during World War l, when the major found four Australians outflanked by the Turks, "Bill the Bastard" carried all five men – three on his back and one on each stirrup - 1.21 km through soft sand at a lumbering gallop, without first bucking.
At the end of the war, 11,000 surplus horses in the Middle East were sold to the British Army as remounts for Egypt and India. Some horses that were categorised as being unfit were cast for age (destroyed). Also, some light horsemen chose to destroy their horses rather than part with them, but this was an exception, despite the popular myth that portrays it as the fate of all the war horses. Parting with their Walers was one of the hardest events the light horsemen had to endure.
During World War II in Australia, Walers were used as mounts for the North Australia Observer Unit (colloquially referred to as “Curtin’s Cowboys” or the “Nackeroos”) who carried out surveillance over vast areas of the northern coastline and were trained to fight behind enemy lines in the event of the anticipated Japanese invasion of Australia.
As demand for remounts declined in the 1940s and the advent of mechanisation, the Waler trade ceased and horses on outback stations that had bred Waler remounts in Australia were replaced by motor bikes and helicopters and were often simply let loose to run free on the vast outback station properties.
In the 1980s efforts began to locate horses of the old Waler bloodlines. This was successful and number of feral Walers descended from horses that had been set loose were carefully selected and acquired. These were to become known as Foundation Walers in the subsequent establishment of a Waler horse breed as distinct from a Waler “type”. A Waler Horse Society was initially established in 1986 and later renamed as the Waler Horse Society of Australia Inc. (WHSA) in 1988 as an Incorporated Association with Consumer Affairs Victoria. The WHSA established a Horse Register and Studbook together with a Constitution and Breed Standards.
Only horses and their progeny derived from the old bloodlines, with no imported breed influences since 1945, can be registered as a Waler.
Today, the Waler is a recognised breed both nationally and internationally with Waler horses participating successfully in a wide range of equestrian events and activities. These include Dressage, Eventing, Cross Country, Light Horse Re-enactment, Endurance, Medieval events, Horseback Archery, Carriage Driving, Stock work/mustering, Team Penning, Ranch Sorting, Working Equitation, Western Trail, as well as daily pleasure.
Source - WHSA
The Highland Pony is a native Scottish pony, and is one of the largest of the mountain and moorland pony breeds of the British Isles. Its pedigree dates back to the 1880s. It was once a workhorse in the Scottish mainland and islands, but today is used for driving, trekking and general riding. They are very hardy and tough, they rarely require shoeing, and are economical to keep. They usually do not need covers (regional dialect varies), and are generally free from many equine diseases.
The Highland Pony is one of the three native breeds of the Scottish Higlands and Islands, the others are the Shetland Pony and the Eriskay Pony. Over many centuries the breed has adapted to the variable and often severe climatic and environmental conditions of Scotland. The winter coat consists of a layer of strong badger-like hair over a soft dense undercoat, which enables this breed of pony to live out in all types of weather. This coat is shed in the spring to reveal a smooth summer coat. This essential hardiness is combined with a kindly nature and even temperament.
The height of a Highland pony is between 13 to 14.2 hands (52 to 58 inches, 132 to 147 cm). The head is well-carried and alert with a kindly eye, broad muzzle and deep jowl. Reasonable length of neck going from the withers with a good sloping shoulder and well-placed forearm is desired. Ponies are to have a well-balanced and compact body with deep chest, well-sprung ribs, powerful quarters with a well-developed thigh, strong gaskin and clean flat hocks. Desired traits also include: flat hard bone, broad knees, short cannon bones, oblique pasterns and well-shaped broad dark hooves.
Feather hair behind the fetlocks is soft and silky. When Highland ponies are shown, the mane and tail are kept natural, flowing and untrimmed.
Highland ponies are seen in a range of dun shades. The Highland Pony Society recognizes shade variations referred to as "mouse," (known in other breeds as grullo) "yellow," (bay dun) "grey," (dun with gray gene that lightens with age) and "cream" ( a dun apparently also possessing a dilution factor). Other, nonstandard, terms such as "fox dun", (describing a red dun) "oatmeal dun" and "biscuit dun" (describing a cream dun) are sometimes also used. They also may be grey, seal brown, black, and occasionally bay or a shade of liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail.
Dun-coloured ponies have primitive markings which include a dorsal stripe and some show zebra markings on legs. A transverse shoulder stripe is also often present. Foal coat often changes and many ponies change colour gradually as they grow older. Others show a slight seasonal change in colour between winter and summer coats. "Broken" colours such as pinto are not allowed.
The Highland Pony Society actively discourages white markings of any description other than a small white star. Stallions with white markings other than a small star are not eligible for licensing by the Highland Pony Society. No white markings (other than a small star) nor white legs or white hooves are acceptable in the show ring.
Tracing the history of the breed presents difficulties. In the earliest period of development of the domesticated breed, there were two types: the small and light pony of the Western Isles, and the larger and heavier mainland-bred type. The larger animals were commonly called garrons, though the term is considered incorrect. Both types have integrated now, and thus there is generally less distinction between the types within the Highland pony breed. However the phenotype of the smaller type survives in the rare Eriskay Pony.
In the 16th century, French and Spanish horses, including the Percheron, were taken to the Scottish highlands. In the 19th century, a Hackney type and the Fell Pony and Dales Pony were added.
The breed was originally bred to work on the small farms of Scotland, hauling timber and game as well as ploughing. They are still used for such work, but are usually enjoyed as all-round ponies, good for jumping and trekking, due to their quietness, stamina, and ability to carry weight.
There are an estimated 5,500 Highlands in the world today, with most in Europe. Although some are still bred for their substance and stamina, the trend is to breed for a pony more suited for riding and driving. The breed is also commonly crossed with Thoroughbreds to produce good eventing horses. Despite increasing popularity, the breed is still categorised as Category 4, "At Risk" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Working Highland Ponies
Source - Wikipedia
Rosemarkie Archer owned by Rosemarkie Highland Stud
A Brumby is a free-roaming feral horse in Australia. Although found in many areas around the country, the best-known Brumbies are found in the Australian Alps region. Today, most of them are found in the Northern Territory, with the second largest population in Queensland. A group of Brumbies is known as a "mob" or "band".
Brumbies are the descendants of escaped or lost horses, dating back in some cases to those belonging to the early European settlers, including the "Capers" from South Africa, Timor pony from Indonesia, British pony and draught horse breeds, and a significant number of Thoroughbreds and Arabians.
Today they live in many places, including some National Parks. These national parks include; Alpine National Park in Victoria, Barrington national park in NSW, Carnarvon National Park Queensland. Occasionally they are mustered and domesticated for use as campdrafters, working stock horses on farms or stations, but also as trail horses, show horses, Pony Cub mounts and pleasure horses. They are the subject of some controversy – regarded as a pest and threat to native ecosystems by environmentalists and the government, but also valued by others as part of Australia's heritage, with supporters working to prevent inhumane treatment or extermination, and rehoming Brumbies who have been captured.
Origin of the Term
The term Brumby refers to a feral horse in Australia. The first recorded use in print in 1871 has the connotation of an inferior or worthless animal, and culling of feral horses as a pest soon became known as Brumby shooting. The Australasian magazine from Melbourne in 1880 said that Brumbies were the bush name in Queensland for 'wild' horses. In 1885, the Once a Monthmagazine suggested that brumbies was a New South Wales term, and the poet Banjo Paterson stated in the introduction for his poem Brumby's Run published in the Bulletin in 1894 that Brumby is the Aboriginal word for a wild horse. Its derivation is obscure, and may have come about from one or more of the following possibilities:
Early Horse Imports
Horses first arrived in Australia in 1788 with the First Fleet. They were imported for farm and utility work; recreational riding and racing were not major activities. By 1800, only about 200 horses are thought to have reached Australia. Horse Racing became popular around 1810, resulting in an influx of Thoroughbred imports, mostly from England. Roughly 3,500 horses were living in Australia by 1820, and this number had grown to 160,000 by 1850, largely due to natural increase. The long journey by sea from England, Europe, and Asia meant that only the strongest horses survived the trip, making for a particularly healthy and strong Australian stock, which aided in their ability to flourish.
Origin of Feral Herds
Horses were likely confined primarily to the Sydney region until the early 19th century, when settlers first crossed the Blue Mountains and opened expansion inland. Horses were required for travel, and for cattle and sheep droving as the pastoral industry grew. The first report of an escaped horse is in 1804, and by the 1840s some horses had escaped from settled regions of Australia. It is likely that some escaped because fences were not properly installed, when fences existed at all, but it is believed that most Australian horses became feral because they were released into the wild and left to fend for themselves. This may have been the result of pastoralists abandoning their settlements, and thus their horses, due to the arid conditions and unfamiliar land that combined to make farming in Australia especially difficult. After World War l, the demand for horses by defence forces declined with the growth in mechanization, which led to a growth in the number of unwanted animals that were often set free. Throughout the 20th century, the replacement of horses with machines in farming led to further reductions in demand, and may have also contributed to increases in feral populations.
Currently, Australia has at least 400,000 horses roaming the continent. It is also estimated that, during non-drought periods, the feral horse population increases at a rate of 20 percent per year. Drought conditions and brushfires are natural threats. Despite population numbers, feral horses are generally considered to be a moderate pest. Where they are allowed to damage vegetation and cause erosion, the impact on the environment can be detrimental, and for that reason can be considered a serious environmental threat. However, because they also have cultural and potential economic value, the management of Brumbies presents a complex issue.
Brumbies roaming in the Australian Alps of south-eastern Australia are thought to be descendants of horses which were owned by the pastoralist and pioneer, Benjamin Boyd.
On the coast south of Geraldton, Western Australia the Brumbies there are known as ‘Pangare Ponies’, as they appear to carry the rare Pangare gene. This colouring is commonly known as mealy and is seen mainly in a number of old breeds such as British Ponies, Timor Ponies, Haflingers and even Belgian Draught Horses. The gene causes lightening in parts of a horse’s coat, resulting in a mealy coloured muzzle, forearms, flanks, and the belly. It is sometimes seen in chestnut horses with flaxen coloured manes and tails.
The Pangaré Brumbies appear to have adapted well to their coastal environment, where they are consuming saltbush, which they do not appear to be damaging. The Department of Environment and Conservation and the Outback Heritage Horse Association of Western Australia (OHHAWA) are monitoring these particular Brumbies to ensure the careful management of these unusual feral horses.
Brumbies have been captured, fitted with GPS tracking collars, and used in extensive comparative research into the effect of terrain on the morphology and health of different horses’ hooves. They have their paths of movement, diet, watering patterns, and mob structure tracked and recorded.
Captured Brumbies can be trained as stock horses and other saddle horses. Encouraging viewing of feral herds may also have potential as a tourist attraction. Brumbies are sometimes sold into the European horse meat market after their capture, and contribute millions of dollars to the Australian economy. Approximately 30% of horses for meat export originates from the feral population. The hides and hair of these horses are also used and sold.
Wild Brumbies are used in Brumby training camps by organisations that promote positive interaction between troubled, high-risk youths. These camps usually last several weeks, allowing youths to train a wild Brumby to become a quiet, willing saddle horse while improving the youths’ self-esteem.
Wild Brumbies are also used in the Brumby catch and handle event in stockman’s challenge competitions, where riders are required to catch a free running Brumby from their horse within a time limit of a few minutes. Sectional points are awarded for the stockman’s challenge for care and skill in catching the Brumby and their ability to teach them to lead. These demanding challenges for riders are held in New South Wales at Dalgety, Tamworth and Murrurundi, plus The Man From Snowy River Challenge in Corryong, Victoria. Several New South Wales show societies, including
Walcha, Bellingen and Dorrigo, hold special classes for registered Brumbies at their annual agricultrual shows.
Horses were first described as pests in Australia in the 1860s. Their environmental impact may include soil loss, compaction, and erosion; trampling of vegetation; reduction in the vastness of plants; increased tree deaths by chewing on bark; damage to bog habitats and waterholes; spreading of invasive weeds; and various detrimental effects on population of native species. In some cases, when feral horses are startled, they may damage infrastructure, including troughs, pipes, and fences. However, Brumbies are also credited for helping keep tracks and trails clear for bush walkers and service vehicles in some areas.
In some habitats, hooves of free-roaming horses compact the soil, and when the soil is compacted, air spaces are minimized, leaving nowhere for water to collect. When this occurs, soil in areas where horses are prevalent has a water penetration resistance over 15 times higher than that in areas without horses.Trampling also causes soil erosion and damages vegetation, and because the soil cannot hold water, plant regrowth is hindered. Horse trampling also has the potential to damage waterways and bog habitats. Trampling near streams increases runoff, reducing the quality of the water and causing harm to the ecosystem of the waterway. Horse excrement tends to foul these waterways, as does the accumulation of carcasses that result when feral horses perish, adding to the negative environmental impact of this exotic species in Australia.
Alpine areas, such as those of Kosciuszko National Park, are at particular risk; low-growing alpine flora is highly vulnerable to trampling, and the short summers mean little time for plants to grow and recover from damage. The biodiversity there is high, with 853 species of plant, 21 of which are found nowhere else. Erosion in the limestone karst areas leads to runoff and silting. Sphagnum moss is an important component of highland bogs, and is trampled by horses seeking water.
Feral horses may also reduce the richness of plant species. Exposure of soil caused by trampling and vegetation removal via grazing, combined with increased nutrients being recycled by horse dung, favour weed species, which then invade the region and overtake native species, diminishing their diversity. The dispersal of weeds is aided by the attachment of seeds to the horses’ manes and tails, and are also transferred via horse dung after consumption of weeds in one location and excrement in another. Although the effects of the weeds that actually germinate after transfer via dung is debated, the fact that a large number of weed species are dispersed via this method is of concern to those interested in the survival of native plant species in Australia. The effect on plants and plant habitats are more pronounced during droughts, when horses travel greater distances to find food and water. They consume the already threatened and limited vegetation, and their negative influences are more widespread. Feral horses may also chew the bark of trees, which may leave some trees vulnerable to external threats. This has occurred during drought, among eucalyptus species on the Red Range plateau. It appears as though feral horses may prefer these species.
Interaction with Other Animal Species
The changes in vegetation that result when feral horses overpopulate a region affects bird species by removing plants upon which they feed, as well as altering the habitat of the birds and their prey. Feral horse grazing is also linked to a decline in reptiles and amphibians due to habitat loss. In addition, the grazing and trampling near waterways influences aquatic fauna. In areas frequented by horses, crab densities are higher, increasing the propensity for predation on fish. As a result, fish densities decline as the removal of vegetation renders them more susceptible to predation.
In areas where horses are abundant, macropod populations are less prevalent. This is most likely due to the horses’ consumption of vegetation upon which the macropods normally feed. When horses are removed, signs of the presence of various macropods, specifically the black-footed rock wallaby, increase. Thus, competition with horses may be the reason for the decline in macropod populations in certain areas.
Brumby populations also may have the potential to pass exotic diseases, such as Equine Influenza and African Horse Sickness to domestic horses. They also may carry tick fever, which can be passed to both horses and cattle. This can lead to high fatalities among domestic populations, causing many farmers to call for the management of feral horses.
Like all livestock, Brumbies can carry the parasite Cryptosporidium Parvum, which can result in serious gastroenteritis in people drinking contaminated drinking water.
Although poor management of feral horses may pose an ecological and environmental threat in some parts of Australia, their management is made difficult by issues of feasibility and public concern. Currently, management attempts vary, as feral horses are considered pests in some states, such as South Australia, but not others, including Queensland. There is also controversy over removal of Brumbies from National Parks. The primary argument in favour of the removal of Brumbies is that they impact on fragile ecosystems and damage and destroy endangered native flora and fauna.
Public concern is a major issue in control efforts as many advocate for the protection of Brumbies, including the Aboriginal people, who believe feral horses belong to the country. Other horse interest groups resent the labelling of horses as “feral” and are completely opposed to any measures that threaten their survival. While some Animal Welfare groups such as the RSPCA reluctantly accept culling, other organizations such as Save the Brumbies oppose lethal culling techniques and attempt to organise relocation of the animals instead. It has been argued that relocation, which often involves hours of helicopter mustering, would be more traumatic for the horses.
Meanwhile, conservationist groups, such as the Australian Conservation Foundation, favour humane culling as a means of control because of the damage Brumby overpopulation can cause to native flora and fauna, but are also generally opposed to various means of extermination. This makes management a challenge for policymakers, though at present, the cost of allowing overpopulation of feral horses seems to outweigh other concerns.
Population Control Methods
The traditional method of removal, called Brumby running, is reminiscent of Banjo Paterson's iconic poem, The Man From Snow River where expert riders rope the Brumbies and remove them to a new location.
Options for population control include fertility control, ground and helicopter shooting, and mustering and trapping. None of the methods provide complete freedom from suffering for the horses, and the cost of each is very high. The costs include those that are economic, such as research, equipment purchases, and labour expenditures, as well as moral concerns over the welfare of the horses. As a result, more effective and efficient means of control have been called for.
Fertility control is a non-lethal method of population management that is usually viewed as the most humane treatment, and its use is supported by the RSPCA. While it appears as though these treatments are effective in the breeding season immediately following injection, the lasting effects are debated. Because it is costly and difficult to treat animals repeatedly, this method, despite being ideal, is not widely implemented.
Shooting by trained marksmen is considered to be the most practical method of control due to its effectiveness. The NSW Department of Primary Industries believe shooting is the preferred method of population control as it does not subject the horses to the stresses of mustering, yarding, and long-distance transportation, all of which are related to 'capture and removal' methods. Horses that are only initially wounded from shooting are tracked and dispatched if they are in accessible, open country. Brumbie advocacy groups do not consider mountain shooting to be humane. Helicopter shootings allow for aerial reconnaissance of a large area to target the densest populations, and shooters may get close enough to the target animals to ensure termination. This method is considered the most effective and cost efficient means of control, but disapproval is high amongst those that believe it is inhumane. Organizations supporting Brumbies argue that aerial shooting is unnecessary and that alternative population control methods have not been given adequate trials, while government officials express concern about the need to control rapidly growing populations in order to avoid ecological problems associated with too many feral horses in certain areas.
Mustering is a labour-intensive process that results in one of two major outcomes: slaughter for sale, or relocation. It may be assisted by feed-luring in which bales of hay are strategically placed to attract feral horses to a location where capture is feasible. Complicating this process is low demand for the captured horses, making it less desirable than fertility control or shooting, which reduce the population without having to find alternative locations for them.
Management in National Parks
Between 22 October and 24 October 2000, approximately 600 Brumbies were shot in the Guy Fawkes River National Park by the National Parks an Wildlife Services. As a result of the public outcry that followed the NSW Government established a steering committee to investigate alternative methods of control. Since the campaign began to remove horses from the national park, over 400 have been passively trapped and taken from the Park, and 200 of these have been re-homed.
A particular breed of brumby, the Coffin Bay Pony was completely removed from the coffin Bay National Park and relocated to a neighbouring parcel of land by 2004. This was a result of a public outcry to a previously proprosed plan by South Australia's Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cull all animals in the park.
A NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service cull during 2006 and 2007 in Kosciuszko National Park, where there were an estimated 1700 horses in 2005, resulted in a reduction of 64 horses.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service commenced a plan in 2007 to reduce Brumby numbers by passive trapping in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Over 60 Brumbies captured in the Aspley River Gorge have now been re-homed.
In 2008 the third phase of an aerial culling of Brumbies took place, by shooting 700 horses from a helicopter, in Carnarvon Gorge in Carnarvon National Park, Queensland.
In Popular Culture
Brumbies, called "wild bush horses", are mentioned in Banjo Paterson's poem The Man from Snowy River. This poem was expanded into the films The Man FRom Snowy River and The Man FRom Snowy River ll (US title: "Return to Snowy River" – UK title: "The Untamed") – also The Man FRom Snowy River (tv series) and The Man FRom Snowy River: The Arena Spectacular.
Another Banjo Paterson poem, called Brumby's Run, describes a mob of Brumbies running wild. Paterson was inspired to write the poem when he read of a N.S.W. Supreme Court Judge, who on hearing of Brumby horses, asked: "Who is Brumby, and where is his Run?"
The popular Silver Brumbie books by Elyne Mitchell were written for children and young adults. The stories describe the adventures of Thowra, a Brumby stallion. These stories were dramatised and made into a movie of the same name (also known as The Silver Stallion: King of the Wild Brumbies), starring Russell Crowe and Caroline Goodall. And also an animated children's television series.
The Brumby was adopted as an emblem in 1996 by then newly formed ACT Brumbies, a rugby union team based in Canberra, Asutralia competing in what was then known as Super 12, now Super Rugby.
Subaru sold a small soupe utility in Australia under the model name Brumby. It was known in other markets by various other names, including Shifter, 284, and BRAT.
Source - Wikipedia
The Connemara pony (Irish: Capaillín Chonamara) is a pony breed originating in Ireland. They are known for their athleticism, versatility and good disposition. The breed makes excellent show ponies.
A Connemara pony has a short head
The Connemara region in County Galway in western Ireland, where the breed first became recognised as a distinct type, is a very harsh landscape, thus giving rise to a pony breed of hardy, strong individuals. Some believe that the Connemara developed from Scandenavian Ponies that the Vikings first brought to Ireland. Another source was likely the Irish Hobby, a now-extinct breed established prior to the 13th century. Legend, however, says that galleons from the Spanish Armada ran aground in 1588, and the Andalusians on board were set loose. The Spanish horses bred with the native stock, refining the local ponies.
For additional strength and stamina, Arabian blood was added in the 18th century. They were also crossed with Hackneys and Thoroughbreds. Too much crossbreeding began to dilute the pony bloodlines, so the Connemara Pony Breeders' Society, founded in 1923, worked to preserve the breed type. The stud book was established in 1926. Today, Connemaras are bred worldwide in Ireland and Britain, as well as on the European Continent, North America, Australiasia and South Africa.
The Connemara Pony Breeders Society was established in 1923 and set out to ensure the "preservation and improvement of the Connemara Pony" as the native breed of Ireland. The Society runs an annual pony show and has been doing so since its founding. The annual show allows the assembly of the largest collection of Connemara ponies worldwide and is used to buy and sell Connemara ponies both from Ireland and abroad.
The original breed standard is set by the Connemara Pony Breeders' Society of Ireland, and also used by the British Connemara Pony Society. The adult Connemara pony is usually 128 to 148 centimetres (12.2 to 14.2 hands; 50 to 58 in) in height, with a strong back, loins and hind quarters, deep and broad through the ribs, and with a riding-type well laid-back shoulder and well-placed neck without undue crest, giving a good length of rein. The head should be of pony type, broad between the eyes, which should be large and appear kind, and with a deep but refined jaw and clearly defined cheekbone. The ears should be of pony type (relatively short). The legs should be relatively short from the knees and hocks to the ground, with a strong, muscular upper leg, strong and well-defined knees and hocks, and well-shaped hard feet which are of a medium size. The action should be free, active and easy. Permitted colours are grey, black, brown, bay, dun (buckskin), roan, chestnut, palomino and cream. The Dun Gene does not exist within the Connemara population and is instead a term used to describe nuckskin ponies, particularly in their native Ireland and in the UK. Pinto colouring (piebald and skewbald) is not accepted. The Connemara pony should be intelligent with a good temperament, suitable for adults and children; it should be hardy with good endurance; it should be sure-footed, sound, and able to jump. If a Connemara pony is to be passed as Grade 1 on inspection by the Connemara Pony Breeder's Society, it must meet the breed standard; if it does not meet this specification then it will be given a Grade 2 or Grade 3 on inspection. Connemaras in North America range from 13 to 15 hands (52 to 60 inches, 132 to 152 cm).
Some Connemara ponies carry the autosomal recessive disorder hoof wall sepereation diesease and all foals born are tested as part of the registration process.
The Connemara is best known today as a sports pony. Ridden by both children and adults, it is considered to be a very versatile pony breed, competitive in show jumping, dressage and eventing, but also with the stamina for endurance riding. They are also shown in harness. Connemara Pony shows are held worldwide, with particular popularity in Ireland.
Source - Wikipedia
Kahean Snowblossom owned by Sharyn Callender
The Akhal-Teke (/ˌækəlˈtɛk/ or /ˌækəlˈtɛki/; from Turkmen Ahalteke, [axal'teke[) is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem. They have a reputation for speed and endurance, intelligence, and a distinctive metallic sheen. The shiny coat of palominos and buckskins led to their nickname "Golden Horses". These horses are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest existing horse breeds. There are currently about 6,600 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia, although they are also found throughout Europe and North America. Akhal was the name of the line of oases along the north slope of the Kopet Dag mountains. It was inhabited by the Tekke tribe of Turkomans.
There are several theories regarding the original ancestry of the Akhal-Teke, some dating back thousands of years. It is probable that Akhal Teke is a descendant of an older breed known as the Turkoman horse, and some claim it is the same breed. The tribes of Turkmenistan selectively bred the horses, recording their pedigrees orally and using them for raiding. The breed was used in the losing fight against the Russian Empire, and was subsumed into the Empire along with its country. The Turkoman has influenced many other breeds, including modern warmbloods, and recent research confirms that Turkoman stallions made significant contributions to the development of the Thoroughbred. However, there also exists the possibility that all Akhal-Tekes today have a Thoroughbred sire line. The studbook was closed in 1932. The Russians printed the first stud book for the breed in 1941, including over 700 horses.
The Akhal-Teke typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands (58 and 64 inches, 147 and 163 cm). These horses are well known for those individuals who have a golden buckskin or palomino color, a result of the cream gene, a dilution gene that also produces the perlino and cremello colors. A number of other colors are recognized, including bay, black, chestnut, and grey. Aficionados of the breed claim that the color pattern served as camouflage in the desert. Many Akhal-Tekes have a natural metallic sheen to their coat, particularly noticeable in those with cream gene colors.
The Akhal-Teke has a refined head with predominantly a straight or slightly convex profile, and long ears. It can also have almond-shaped or "hooded" eyes. The mane and tail are usually sparse. The long back is lightly muscled, and is coupled to a flat croup and long, upright neck. The Akhal-Teke possess sloping shoulders and thin skin. The breed is tough and resilient, having adapted to the harshness of Turkmenistan lands, where horses must live without much food or water. This has also made the horses good for sport. The breed is known for its endurance, as shown in 1935 when a group of Turkmen riders rode the 2500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days, including a three-day crossing of 235 miles of desert without water. The Akhal-Teke is also known for its form and grace as a show jumper.
The quality of the Akhal-Teke horses are determined by the studbook manager. Depending on type, conformation, pedigree, quality of offspring and achievement in sport, the horses are designated as either Elite or Class I or Class II. There are usually 2 annual grading events in Moscow, Russia called the "International Sport Meeting and World Championship “Heavenly Argamak”" and "Golden Akhal-Teke Cup Shael" where breeders present their best horses to a group of judges. At the World Championship a group of judges evaluate the horses in age and gender categories as well as in various sport disciplines and a halter class.
The ancestors of the breed may date back to animals living 3,000 years ago, known by a number of names, but most often as the Nisean Horse. The precise ancestry is difficult to trace, however, because prior to about 1600 AD, horse breeds in the modern sense did not exist; rather, horses were identified by local strain or type.
The breed is very similar to, and possibly the direct descendant of the Turkoman Horse, a breed believed to be extinct, though a related strain may be bred today in Iran. Other breeds or strains with Turkoman roots also include the Yomud, Goklan and the Nokhorli. Some historians believe that these are different strains of the same breed. Other ancient strains that may have contributed to the breed included those named the Massaget and Parthian.
It remains a disputed "chicken or egg" question whether the influential Arabian was the ancestor of the Turkoman or was developed out of that breed, but current DNA evidence points to a possible common ancestor for both. A substantial number of Arabian mares were reportedly been used to improve the breed in the 14th and 19th century. It is also possible that the so-called "hot blooded" breeds, the Arabian, Turkoman, Akhal-Teke, and the Barb all developed from a single "oriental horse" predecessor.
Tribal people in what today is Turkmenistan first used the Akhal-Teke for raiding. The horses were their most treasured possession since they were crucial for income and survival. They selectively bred their horses, keeping records of the pedigrees via an oral tradition. Horses were managed and trained in very specific ways. Stallions were tethered next to the tent while mares and foals were free to seek forage. The stallions were covered from head to tail with up to seven layers of felt, which kept their coat short and shiny. Before raids they were put on a sparse diet to prepare them for the long ride through the desert with no water and hardly any feed. The horses were called Argamaks (divine or Sacred Horses) by the Russians, and were cherished by those who valued their speed and stamina in the desert and loyalty to their owner. Han emperors from China sacrificed armies to obtain just a few of the precious "Argamaks".
In 1881, Turkmenistan became part of the Russian Empire. The tribes fought with the Tsar, eventually losing. In the process, however, the Russian general Kuropatkin developed a fondness for horses he had seen while fighting the tribesmen, founded a breeding farm after the war and renamed the horses, "Akhal-Tekes", after the Teke Turkmen tribe that lived around the Akhal oasis (near Geok Tepe). The Russians closed the studbook in 1932 which included 287 stallions and 468 mares. Stallions are not gelded in Central Asia. The studbook was printed in 1941.
The ancestral Akhal-Teke has had influence on many breeds, possibly including the Thoroughbred; the Byerly Turk, which may have been an Arabian, or a Turkoman horse, was one of the three major foundation stallions of the breed. Three other stallions thought to be of Turkoman origin, known as the "Lister Turk", the "White Turk", and the "Yellow Turk" were among a number of minor stallions from the orient who contributed to the foundation bloodstock of the Thoroughbred breed. The Trakehner has also been influenced by the Akhal-Teke, most notably by the stallion, Turkmen-Atti, as have the Russian breeds Don, Budyonny, Karabair, and Karabakh.
The breed suffered greatly when the Soviet Unon required horses to be slaughtered for meat, even though local Turkmen refused to eat them. At one point only 1,250 horses remained and export from the Soviet Union was banned. The government of Turkmenistan now uses the horses as diplomatic presents as well as auctioning a few to raise money for improved horse breeding programs.
In the early twentieth century, crossbreeding between the Thoroughbred and the Akhal-Teke took place, aiming to create a faster long-distance racehorse. The Anglo Akhal-Tekes were not so resilient however, as their Akhal-Teke ancestors, and many died due to the harsh conditions of Central Asia. After the 2,600 mile endurance race from Ashkabad to Moscow in 1935, when the purebreds finished in much better condition than the part-breds, the studbook management decided to consider all crossbred horses born after 1936, as not purebred. Horses with English Thoroughbred ancestors born prior to that date were allowed to remain inside the studbook (e.g. 044 Tillyakush, grandson of Thoroughbred Burlak, 831 Makh, granddaughter of Thoroughbred Blondelli and great-great-granddaughter of Thoroughbred Junak, and line founder 9 Ak Belek, a direct descendent in the male line of the Thoroughbred stallion Fortingbrass). Due to this fact there doesn't exist any Akhal-Teke today whose ancestry doesn't contain a Thoroughbred. Since 1973, all foals must be blood typed to be accepted in the stud book in order to protect the integrity of the breed. From 2014 on, a DNA tests based on hair follicles is sufficient if the DNA of the parents is on file. A stallion not producing the right type of horse may be removed. Nowadays, artificial insemination is allowed as well as embryo transfer. The surrogate mother, however, needs to be a pureblood Akhal-Teke mare for the foal to be registered in the General Studbook as a pureblood Akhal-Teke. Akhal-Teke horses are bred all over the world. In addition to Turkmenistan there are breeders in Russia and Central Asia, Europe, the USA, Uruguay, and Australia.
Trukmenistan has a separate agency, Turkmen Atlary, responsible for the breeding, training and maintenance of Akhal-Teke horses. However, the agency's work has been the focus of criticism from the President of the country, who holds the agency responsible for decreasing numbers of horses and inadequate facilities for their breeding, training and management. At present Akhal-Teke horses in Turkmenistan are not registered with any other studbook. The main reason for this are allegations of a heavy infusion of Thoroughbred blood into the breed to create faster horses for racing in Turkmenistan. There are estimates that as many as 30% of the horses in the Ashgabat hippodrome were not purebred.
When the first horse minister of newly-independent Turkmenistan, Geldy Kyarizov, a lifelong advocate for the Akhal-Teke and former chair of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Breeders, began utilizing DNA to establish an Akhal-Teke studbook, he uncovered the pattern of adding in Thoroughbred blood. His decision to go public with this information was viewed as a threat to the profits of the horse-breeding establishment and he fell out of favor with the Turkmenistan government, and in particular, then-President Saparmurat Niyazov. He was charged with abuse of office and negligence in 2002, convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. He was ultimately pardoned in October 2007, when Niyazov died and his successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, took control of the country. By 2012, Kyarizov's health, which had been poor since his arrest and subsequent imprisonment, had deteriorated to the point he needed to go abroad for medical care, but was initially prevented from leaving the country. By 2015, he was allowed to travel to Moscow for medical care, but family members, including his 14-year-old daughter, were forced to remain behind to "guarantee" his return. Ultimately, in September, 2015, the entire family was allowed to leave.
Turkmen Atlary, in its capacity as the administrative arm of the International Akhal-Teke Horse Association, hosts a meeting of the association once or twice a year upon invitation in Ashgabat. Most of the bigger breeding farms and national Akhal Teke associations as well as Akhal Teke owners and representatives of the horse industry from around the world attend. There is a horse racing organization called "Galkinysh" . In Ashgabat, the Ahalteke equestrian complex, one of the largest in Central Asia, is a horse-breeding center. The former Akhal-Teke horse Holiday, celebrated on the last Sunday in April, has been renamed 'Turkmen Horse Day'
The Akhal-Teke, due to its natural athleticism, can be a sport horse, good at dressage, show jumping, eventing, racing, and endurance riding. A noted example was the Akhal-Teke stallion, Absent, who won the Grand Prix de Dressage at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, while being ridden by Sergei Filatov. He went again with Filatov to Tokyo in the 1964 Summer Olympics, and won the Soviet team gold medal under Ivan Kalita at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. However, by today's studbook standards he wouldn't be admitted as Akhal-Teke, owing to the Thoroughbred ancestry of his dam Bakkara.
There are several genetic diseases of concern to Akhal-Teke breeders. The genetic diversity of the breed is relatively low with an AVK (Ancestor Loss Coefficient ) of 30-50%, which raises concerns for dealing with an increase in carriers of these conditions, and even some risk of inbreeding depression. To date, there are no DNA tests for these conditions.
Akhal-Tekes are represented in the official coat of arms and banknotes of Turkmenistan, as well as on stamps of Turkmenistan and other countries.
In different cities of Turkmenistan are monuments to the Akhal-Teke. The largest number of sculptures located in Ashgabat.
Source - Wikipedia
purebred stallion imported stallion JBK Mukam owned by Die Kinder Stud
A Curly is a breed of horse. Curlies, also called Bashkir Curlies, American Bashkir Curlies, and North American Curly Horses, come in all sizes, colors, and body types but all carry a gene for a unique curly coat of hair.
The Curlies are known for their calm, intelligent and friendly personality. They show an easily trainable temperament. They are also known for having a tough constitution and great stamina. Most people have found that the curlies enjoy being around people. The curlies are typically not flighty. They tend to do more reasoning than most breeds. They are very reliable and have a great work ethic.
Coat, Mane and Tail
The unique gene that gives Curlies their curly hair (which is most obvious with their winter coat) can be expressed minimally (horse exhibits curly hair inside ears, at fetlocks, and a kinky mane and tail), maximally (horse exhibits curl all over body, has dreadlocked mane, and has curly eyelashes and guard hairs), and "Extreme" (very tight, extreme curls, but when they shed out for summer can shed entirely bald) or any variation in between. The coat in the summer shows a slight wave in it, but not as extreme as the winter curls.
Because the trait can be carried heterozygously, some purebred Curlies exhibit no curl at all. (Called "smooth coat" curlies)
Curlies have split manes and are not braided or clipped when shown. Curlies are most commonly chestnut colored, but can be found in every color from standard bays, blacks, and greys, to appaloosa markings; from pinto patterns to dilute colors such as buckskin, roan, grulla, and cremello.
The care for the curly hair is simple with most people choosing to not comb the mane because the hair will lose its curliness. The manes are often trimmed to keep them from matting. The tails can be combed. Some people choose to collect the hair that is shed from the mane and tails in the spring. The hair is then donated to the ICHO Fiber Guild. They use the hair for spinning. All of the proceeds go to ICHO Curly Research Efforts.
Curlies are claimed to be the only hypoallergenic horse breed; most people allergic to horses can handle Curly Horses without suffering any allergic reaction. Research indicates a protein is missing from the hair of Curlies which may be what causes allergic reactions to horses in allergy sufferers, but the study was never officially published. Members of the Curly community are working towards funding more research on the topic.
The Curly has a characteristic long stride and bold movement. They have tough hooves, strong bones and exceptional endurance. Most Curlies stand between 14 and 16 hands, though they can range from Miniature horses to Draft horses, which are only allowed in two registries.
The origins of the Curly horse is highly debated in the Curly community, but research is mostly still in progress. Disagreements of the Curly horse's history result in confusion of what the breed is, and what it should be called. ABCR members prefer "Bashkir Curly" while CSI and ICHO members lean towards "North American Curly". The addition or removal of 'Bashkir' to the breed name is highly debated. A 1990 study indicated that it is unlikely that the Bashkir horse, which also has a curly coat, is an ancestor.
It is said that Curly horses were documented in Asian artwork as early as 161 AD. Charles Darwin documented curly horses in South America in the early 19th century and the early Sioux Indians regarded curly horses as sacred mounts for chiefs and medicine man. Native American artwork shows Curlies carrying warriors in the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Another theory is that the origin of the breed is Iberian. It has been noted that foals of cross bred horses have the curly hair. This suggests that the curly gene is dominant.
There are multiple theories for how the American Curly developed. The Curly horse was first documented in Eureka, Nevada in the early 20th century by rancher John Damele and his sons. While Mustangs were a common sight, curly coated horses were unusual. Years later, the Dameles managed to catch one, broke it to ride and sold it, thus starting their relationship with the breed. In 1932, an unusually harsh winter hit the area, and come spring the only horses that could be found were the Curlies. This evidence of hardiness was noted by the Damele family, and they decided they should include more of these horses in their herd. After another harsh winter in 1951/52, the Dameles started to get serious about breeding these horses. They went out and found their foundation stallion, a two-year-old chestnut in one of the mustang herds. They called him Copper D. The Dameles didn't care much for keeping the breed 'pure', and wanting to improve their horses, added some other blood to their herd. Among the stallions introduced were a Morgan, Ruby Red King AMHR 26101 and an Arabian, Nevada Red AHR 18125. These two stallions created many offspring for the Dameles, and are in hundreds of Curly horses' pedigrees today.
Registries and Organisations
The American Bashkir Curly Registry (ABCR) opened in 1971 with only 21 horses; as of May 2005 there were just over 4,000 Bashkir Curlies in the world, primarily in North America. They are the original standing Curly Registry, and have a closed stud book- only issuing new registrations to horses with two ABCR registered parents.
The International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO) began in 2000 and had over 800 horses registered in its North American Curly Horse Registry (as of Oct. 2006). Horses within this registry are not referred to as "Bashkir Curlies". Although bloodlines (when available) are tracked, the ICHO registers horses based on visible curly traits rather than bloodlines.
Curly Sporthorse International (CSI) began in early 2003 to promote sport horse type Curly Horses, which are one of the more popular types of Curlies. CSI was created to support Curly owners & breeders in improvement of breeding stock, promotion, & marketing. The registry also sponsors Horse of the Year awards and USDF All Breed Awards for performance. CSI advocates evaluation of breeding stock & their offspring.
Canadian Curly Horse Association (CCHA) formed in 1993. This group is focused on community events in the Curly world, and spreading knowledge of the Curly horse.
Though eye catching and unusual in the show ring, Curlies have the movement, endurance, and heart to excel in competition. Curlies have been shown at upper levels of dressage and show jumping, and others have proved the reliable mount and patient teacher for the weekend competitor. Curlies are characteristically quiet, level headed horses that make excellent first horses for supervised beginner riders. Curlies have carried horse-allergic riders from beginner status through ever more advanced stages of equestrianism. They have also been used for combined driving, western riding, ranch horses, trail horses, and companions for other horses. Some Curlies have been crossbred to gaited horses. About 10% of the crossbreds will do one of the ambling gaits such as the running walk, fox trot or the stepping pace, which is also called the "Curly shuffle." Curlies are not used for racing or high trotting showing.
Source - Wikipedia
The Cleveland Bay is a breed of horse that originated in England during the 17th century, named after its colouring and the Cleveland district of Yorkshire. It is a well-muscled horse, with legs that are strong but short in relation to the body. The horses are always bay in colour, although a few light hairs in the mane and tail are characteristic of some breed lines. It is the oldest established horse breed in England, and the only non-draught horse developed in Great Britain. The ancestors of the breed were developed during the Middle Ages for use as pack horses, when they gained their nickname of "Chapman Horses". These pack horses were crossbred with Andalusian and Barb blood, and later with Arabians and Thoroughbreds, to create the Cleveland Bay of today. Over the years, the breed became lighter in frame as they were employed more as carriage and riding horses. The popularity of the Cleveland Bay has greatly fluctuated since it was first imported to the United States in the early 19th century. Despite serious declines in the population after the Second World War, the breed has experienced a resurgence in popularity since the 1970s, although only around 550 horses existed worldwide as of 2006.
They have been patronized by members of the British Royal Family throughout their history, and they are still used to pull carriages in royal processions today. The breed has also been used to develop and improve several warmblood and draught horse breeds. Today they are used for farm work and driving, as well as under-saddle work. They are particularly popular for fox hunting and show jumping, both pure blooded and when crossed with Thoroughbreds. The Cleveland Bay is a rare breed, and both the United Kingdom-based Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the United States-based Livestock Conservancy consider the population to be at critical limits for extinction.
The Cleveland Bay generally stands between 16 and 16.2 hands(64 and 66 inches, 163 and 168 cm), and is always bay in colour. Bright bay horses (bays with a more reddish tint than normal) are the most preferred by breeders, followed by ordinary bay, dark bay and then light bay. This preference for brighter shades of bay was originally stated in the official breed standard, although this stipulation has since been removed. In some bloodlines of the breed, light, grayish hairs in the mane and tail are known as a characteristic of pure blood. White markings, except for a small star on the forehead, render the horse inadmissible to the stud book. Horses are expected to have complete black points, including completely black lower legs. Legs that are red below the knees and hocks are considered faulty in colour, although they do not disqualify a horse from registry. The occasional red legs that appear in the breed are thought to come from chestnut Thoroughbred stallions that were crossed into Cleveland Bay and Yorkshire Coach Horse bloodlines at some points in the history of both breeds. The uniformity in colour is encouraged as it makes creating matching driving teams and pairs very easy. When the breed was first developed, the horses almost always had a countershaded dorsal stripe, but these disappeared with the outcrossings of the 18th century.
The breed has a large head, slightly convex profile, and a long, well-muscled neck. The withers are well-muscled, which often makes them less pronounced, the chest is broad and deep, the shoulders are muscular and sloping, and the croup slightly sloping. The legs are short in relation to the body, but strong and well-muscled. The legs have little or no feather, as the breed was developed partially for working in the heavy clay soils of its native country, where heavy feather led to increased disease prevalence. They are hardy and long-lived horses, and docile in temperament. In the early 20th century, when a breed standard was issued by the British Cleveland Bay Society for use in judging shows, a section was added on the movement of the horses, describing the desired action, especially at the trot. This was included in part because military potential was still considered a factor in evaluating harness horses and a good trot was necessary for an artillery horse. It was also evaluated because breeds with large action at the trot often also have a potential for jumping. The combination of desired characteristics means that the breed is useful for breeding show jumpers, eventers and steeplechasers (the latter especially when crossed with Thoroughbreds).
Partbred Cleveland Bays are sometimes called Cleveland Bay Sporthorses, although they are referred to by the US and UK registries as part breds. They are eligible for registration with the Cleveland Bay Part Bred Registry, but must not be registered with any other registry. To be eligible, horses must have at least one grandparent registered with the main Cleveland Bay Horse Society stud book. The Australasian registry refers to part breds as Sporthorses, although they still require at least 25 percent Cleveland Bay blood.
Originally developed in the Cleveland district of Yorkshire, England, the Cleveland Bay is said to be the oldest established English horse breed, and the only horse native to Britain that does not belong to the heavy horse group. The closest breed in type, although completely unrelated, is the Irish Draught.
The earliest breeding of the ancestors of the Cleveland Bay was done in large part by English churches and monasteries, to meet a need for pack horses to carry trade goods between abbeys and monasteries in northeast England. These medieval horses gained the nickname of "Chapman Horses" because of their use by travelling merchants known as "chapmen". What is now the Cleveland Bay was developed from Barb and Andalusian horses crossed with Chapman Horse mares. The Barb blood came mainly from horses imported by wealthy young men on their Grand Tour of Europe, bought off the docks in Marseilles and transported back to England. The Andalusian blood came from horses bred at the royal stud in Cordoba and given to English royalty by the King of Spain. The stallions were often available for breeding to local horses, and the first infusion of Andalusian blood was added to the native Chapman Horses. The Spanish horses also made their way to the outlying estates of English nobility, and were then taken by Oliver Cromwell's men after the English Civil War. Once in the hands of Cromwell's men, many of the stallions were made available for locals to cross with the existing Chapman Horses, adding a second infusion of Andalusian bloodlines. In the late 17th century a second infusion of Barb blood was added when Cleveland breeders purchased horses directly from soldiers at Tangier or from the Moors themselves.
Between 1685 and 1785 this Chapman Horse/Andalusian/Barb cross developed into the original Cleveland Bay. During this century the type grew bigger due to better feeding, and by 1785 had developed through selective breeding into the "agricultural type" Cleveland Bay. This original type was heavier and more draft-like than the breed of today. This was due to a need for strength more than speed on the farms and poor roads of 17th- and 18th-century England. As roads improved and speed became more important in the late 18th century, Thoroughbred and Arabian blood was added. The resulting horses were used extensively as coach horses, and were lighter of frame, with a well-arched neck and powerful shoulders, making for a flashy carriage horse. The Thoroughbred blood was added despite the claims of breeders that the Cleveland Bay was "free from taint of black or blood", meaning either Thoroughbred "blood" or the Old English "Black" and its descendents. The addition of Thoroughbred breeding is thought responsible for Cleveland Bays born with red legs (as opposed to the black normally associated with bay horses), generally the result of a chestnut Thoroughbred sire in the family tree.
The British Cleveland Bay Horse Society was formed in 1883, and the first stud book was published in 1884. The 19th century saw the export of many Cleveland Bays overseas, to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, India, Russia and the European continent. In the early 19th century, Cleveland Bays were first imported to Maryland, Virginia and MAssachusettes in the United States, and in 1884 the Upperville Cole & Horse Show was created in Virginia by Colonel Richard Henry Dulany to showcase his imported Cleveland Bay stallion and the offspring of the stallion. The Cleveland Bay Society of America was formed in 1885, and the stud book began publication in 1889, although horses were registered who had lived as far back as 1860. Judging from the descriptions of the earliest registered horses, it is possible that many of the "Cleveland Bays" registered were actually Yorkshire Coach Horses; however, all were registered as Clevelands, and that is what they are known as today. Over 2,000 horses were registered with the association by 1907. The horses were of interest to Bufalo Bill Cody, who drove four Cleveland Bay stallions in his Wild West Show.
Before the First World War, having seen the cavalry feats of mounted Boers during the Second Boer War, Britain increased its cavalry reserves. Smaller Cleveland Bays were used to carry British troopers, and larger members of the breed pulled artillery; the British War Office offered premiums on Cleveland Bay stallions. Although the First World War was not the cavalry war the British expected, large numbers of horses were used to pull artillery and losses were high. Because the war caused a depletion in stock, in 1920 and 1921, the British society opened a special register for previously unregistered mares of Cleveland Bay type, including some already registered with the Yorkshire Coach Horse (a Cleveland/Thoroughbred cross) registry, after they had passed an inspection that certified them to be of proper breed type. The subsequent foals of these mares were eligible for registration into the main British Cleveland Bay stud book, and were also eligible to compete in competitions reserved for breed members. Some of this progeny was bred and owned by King George V.
Decline and Re-Emergance
However, interest in the Cleveland Bay was waning, due to increased mechanisation, and the Great Depression of the early 1930s reduced exports by almost a third. There was a brief revival of interest in the late 1930s in the United States when they became popular as foundation stock for hunters. The decline continued, quickening after the Second World War; in 1960 the War Office stopped offering premiums on stallions, and many breeders discontinued breeding. By 1962, only four purebred stallions were present in the UK. Queen Elizabeth ll saved the breed by purchasing Mulgrave Supreme, a stallion that was about to be sold to a buyer in the United States. The stallion was bred to pure- and part-bred mares, and within 15 years there were 36 purebred stallions in the UK. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, used the breed for many years in International driving competitions. In the late 1960s and 1970s, interest in the breed increased, and part-bred Cleveland Bays were in demand for use as riding horses, especially for use as hunters and jumpers. In 1964, a Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred cross competed in show jumping in the Tokyo Olympics. Another half-bred Cleveland Bay competed for the British Olympic team in show jumping at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, while a third was a reserve mount for the Canadian show jumping team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. In the late 1960s and '70s, horses continued to be exported to many countries. Japan, the United States and Australia have continued to import the horses from England, and in New Zealand crosses between Cleveland Bays and native mares were in demand on cattle and sheep stations.
Since 1977, Elizabeth II has been a patron of the Society, and during the Society's centenary year of 1984 she acted as its president. The British Cleveland Bay Horse Society also maintains a separate registry for part-bred horses. In the late 20th century, the breed again gained the attention of the United States public, and in 1985 the US association was reactivated, renamed the Cleveland Bay Society of North America. The US American Livestock Breeds Conservancy considers their status to be critical, which means there is an estimated global population of less than 2,000, and fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States. The UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust also considers their status to be critical, with less than 300 breeding females registered worldwide. The Equus Survival Trust also considers the breed population to be at critical levels, meaning there are between 100 and 300 breeding females left in the world.Currently, there are about 135 purebred horses in the US and Canada recorded with the North American registry. There are also small populations in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2006, an estimated 550 Cleveland Bay horses existed worldwide, of which about 220 were mares; the 2005 foal crop produced fewer than 50 horses.
The Cleveland Bay is a versatile horse and is still used today for many tasks, including driving and farmwork. In the 1920s, Cleveland Bays replaced black Hanoverians in the British royal stables, and both the Cleveland Bay and Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred crosses are used as royal carriage horses today. The horses are used as heavy hunters, as they are powerful and able to carry a man weighing 250 pounds (110 kg) for a full day of hunting over large obstacles and through heavy clay. When crossed with Thoroughbreds, the resulting progeny are lighter and faster, but still strong and heavy of bone. When show jumping was first beginning as a sport during the mid-19th century, Cleveland Bays were among the initial stars. Two mares, Star and Fanny Drape, were two of the top performers. Fanny Drape was known to have cleared a 6-foot (1.8 m) stone wall with a rider on her back, and a 7.5-foot (2.3 m) bar while being jumped in-hand. In 2006, a Cleveland Bay stallion named Tregoyd Journeyman was used as a model for a new horse figure by Breye Animal Creations, and the stallion participated in that year's Breyer model horse festival. Purebred and crossbred Cleveland Bays make up the majority of the bay horses in the Royal Mews, the British royal stables, where they receive intense training to desensitize them before they are put to work drawing royal carriages.
The Cleveland Bay was used in the creation of the Oldenburg breed, because of its stamina, strength, and jumping ability. The breed was also used to create and improve the Holstein and Hanoverian breeds. In the late 18th century, the Cleveland Bay was used to create the short-lived Yorkshire Coach Horse through crosses with Thoroughbreds. These Yorkshires were used mainly to pull mail and passenger coaches, hence their name. Called by some the "New Cleveland Bay", foreigners often could not distinguish between the two breeds, and many horses registered as Cleveland Bays in European coach horse studbooks were actually Yorkshire Coach Horses. In the 19th century, the Cleveland Bay was crossed with French and Belgian draft horses to create the Vladimir Heavy Draft, a Russian breed developed to fill that country's need for a heavy draft breed.
Source - Wikipedia
The Welsh Pony and Cob is a group of four closely-related horse breeds including both pony and cob types, which originated in Wales in the United Kingdom. The four sections within the breed society for the Welsh breeds are primarily distinguished by height, and also by variations in type: the smallest Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A); the slightly taller but refined Welsh Pony of riding type (Section B) popular as a children's show mount; the small but stocky Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C), popular for riding and competitive driving; and the tallest, the Welsh Cob(Section D), which can be ridden by adults. Welsh ponies and cobs in all sections are known for their good temperament, hardiness, and free-moving gaits.
Native ponies existed in Wales before 1600 BC, and a Welsh-type cob was known as early as the Middle Ages. They were influenced by the Arabian horses, and possibly also by the Thoroughbred and the Hackney horse. In 1901, the first stud book for the Welsh breeds was established in the United Kingdom, and in 1907 another registry was established in the United States. Interest in the breed declined during the Great Depression, but revived in the 1950s. Throughout their history, the Welsh breeds have had many uses, including as a cavalry horse, a pit pony, and as a working animal on farms.
Today, the modern Welsh Pony and Cob breeds are used for many equestrian competitive disciplines, including showing, jumping, and driving, as well as for pleasure riding, trekking and trail riding. The smaller types are popular children's ponies. The Welsh also crosses well with many other breeds and has influenced the development of many British and American horse and pony breeds.
Evidence suggests that a native pony existed in Wales before 1600 BC. The original Welsh Mountain Pony is thought to have evolved from this prehistoric Celtic pony. Welsh ponies were primarily developed in Wales, and their ancestors existed in the British Isles prior to the arrival of the Roman Empire. Bands of ponies roamed in a semi-feral state, climbing mountains, leaping ravines, and running over rough moorland terrain.
They developed into a hardy breed due to the harsh climate, limited shelter, and sparse food sources of their native country. At some point in their development, the Welsh breeds had some Arab blood added, although this did not take away the physical characteristics that make the breed unique.
The Welsh Cob existed as a type as early as the Middle Ages, and mentions of such animals can be found in medieval Welsh literature. During this time, they were known for their speed, jumping ability, and carrying capacity. Before the introduction of large, "coldblood" draught horse breeds, they were used for farm work and timbering. In 1485 the Welsh Militia, riding local animals presumed to be ancestors of the modern Welsh Cob, assisted Henry Tudor in gaining the English throne. During the 15th century, similar small horses were also used as rounceys, leading war horses known as destriers
The characteristics of the breed as known today are thought to have been established by the late 15th century, after the Crusaders returned to England, with Arab stallions from the Middle East. In the 16th century, King Henry Vlll, thinking to improve the breeds of horses, particularly war horses, ordered the destruction of all stallions under 15 hands (60 inches, 152 cm) and all mares under 13 hands (52 inches, 132 cm) in the Breed of Horses Act 1535. The laws for swingeing culls of 'under-height' horses were partially repealed by a decree by Queen Elizabeth l in 1566 on the basis that the poor lands could not support the weight of the horses desired by Henry VIII because of "their rottenness ... [they] are not able to breed beare and bring forth such great breeds of stoned horses as by the statute of 32 Henry VIII is expressed, without peril of miring and perishing of them", and (fortunately for the future of Britain's mountain and moorland pony breeds) many ponies in their native environments, including the Welsh breeds, therefore escaped the slaughter.
On the upland farms of Wales, Welsh ponies and cobs would often have to do everything from ploughing a field to carrying a farmer to market or driving a family to services on Sunday. When coal mining became important to the economy of Wales, many Welsh ponies were harnessed for use in mines, above and below ground.
In the 18th century and 19th century, more Arab blood was added by stallions who were turned out in the Welsh hills. Other breeds have also been added, including the Thoroughbred, Hackney, Norfolk Roadster, and the Yorkshire Coach Horse. Before the car was developed, the quickest mode of transport in Wales was the Welsh Cob. Tradesmen, doctors, and other businessmen often selected ponies by trotting them the 35 uphill miles from Cardiff to Dowlais. The best ponies could complete this feat in under three hours, never breaking gait. Formal breeding stock licensing was introduced in 1918, but before this, breeding stock was selected by such trotting tests.
In 1901 English and Welsh breeders established a breeder's association, the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, and the first stud book was published in 1902. It was decided that the Welsh Stud Book should be separated into sections divided by type and height. Welsh Ponies were originally only classified as Section A, but in 1931, with the rising demand for riding ponies for children, Section B was added. In the first stud books, the Section B was the Welsh Pony of Cob Type, and the Welsh Cob was Section C and Section D. The upper height limit for Section D Cobs was removed in 1907 and in 1931 Sections C and D were combined as simply Section C. The current standards of Cobs as Sections C and D were finalised in 1949. Until the mid 20th century, the British War Office considered the Welsh Cob so valuable that they paid premiums to the best stallions. After World War ll, only three stallions were registered in Section C, but numbers have since recovered.
A small semi-feral population of about 120 animals still roams the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia, Wales.
Welsh ponies were first exported to the United States in the 1880s, and large numbers were exported between 1884 and 1910. They adapted easily to the terrain and climate variations they encountered in Canada and the United States. An American association, also named the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, formed in 1906, and by 1913 a total of 574 ponies had been registered. During the Great Depression, interest in the breed declined, but made a comeback in the 1950s. The population continued to grow: in 1957, when annual studbooks began to be published, 2881 ponies had been registered; by 2009, the number was more than 34,000. All Welsh ponies and cobs in the United States descend from ponies registered in the UK stud-book.
The stallion Dyoll Starlight was credited with being the foundation sire of the modern breed, and was a combination of Welsh and Arab breeding. From his line came an influential stallion of the Section B type: Tan-y-Bwlch Berwyn. This stallion was sired by a Barb and out of a mare from the Dyoll Starlight line. Influential stallions on the Section C and D bloodlines include: Trotting Comet, foaled in 1840 from a long line of trotting horses; True Briton, foaled in 1930, by a trotting sire and out of an Arab mare; Cymro Llwyd, foaled in 1850, by an Arab stallion and out of a trotting mare; and Alonzo the Brave, foaled in 1866, tracing his ancestry through the Hackney breed to the Darley Arabian.
The Welsh crosses well with many other breeds, and has influenced the Pony of the Americas and the British Riding Pony. Many are also cross bred with Thoroughbred, and other horse breeds. The Welsh Pony has contributed to the founding of several other horse and pony breeds. The Morgan horse is one such breed, being in part descended from Welsh Cobs left behind by British forces after the end of the American Revolutionary War They are crossed with Arab horses to produce riding horses, and with Thoroughbreds to produce jumpers, hunters, and eventers. Welsh mares have also been used to breed polo ponies that were agile and nimble. The Welsh Pony was used to create the Welara, a cross-breed of the Welsh and the Arab horse, which has been registered in America as a separate breed since 1981.
All sections of Welsh ponies and Cobs have small heads with large eyes, sloped shoulders, short backs and strong hindquarters. The forelegs are straight and the cannon bone short. The tail is high-set. The breed ranges from 11 hands (44 inches, 112 cm) for the smallest ponies to over 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm) for the tallest Cobs. They may be any solid colour, but not piebald, skewbald, (US: Pinto) or leopard-spotted. Black, grey, chestnut and bay are the most common, but there are also duns and palominos. However, it should be noted that British equine colour terminology commonly refers to the buckskin colour, which is caused by the same dilution gene that produces palomino, as "dun", but the true dun gene is extremely rare in the Welsh breed.
Their movement is bold, free and characteristically fast, especially at the trot, with great power coming from the hocks. Their trot has been favourably compared to that of the Standardbred horse. They are reputed to be trustworthy, of a good disposition with even temperaments and friendly characters, but spirited and with great endurance, and are known for their stamina, soundness, and high level of intelligence.
The Welsh Pony has been put to many uses. Historically, they were used for postal routes and in coal mines. The British War Office used the Welsh Cob to pull heavy guns and equipment through terrain where motorised vehicles could not, and also used them for mounted infantry Today, they are used as riding and driving ponies for both children and adults. Welshes today are also used in dressage, endurance riding, general riding, hunting, jumping, and work activities. They have proven their ability at driving in Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) level competition, and have been used for dressage. They also compete against one another in breed show competition as hunters, eventers, and western pleasure horses. The abilities of the Welsh Pony were showcased in 2008 when the first champion Large Pony Hunter to be made into a model Breyer Horse was a grey Welsh Pony gelding. They were formerly much used as docks carthorses in Liverpool Docks.
Source - Wikipedia
The Knabstrupper or Knabstrup is a Danish breed of horse with an unusual range of coat coloration
The breed is usually around 15.2 to 16 h (62 to 64 inches, 157 to 163 cm), but also pony-sized ones (under 14.2 h (58 inches, 147 cm) are found. Coat patterns range from solid to a full leopard-spotted coat, with many variants in between. The spotted coat is caused by a genetic mechanism called the leopard complex. The spotted color patterns common in the Knabstrupper are seen in other breeds, such as the Appaloosa horse, though the two breeds developed independently of one another. The breed generally has either warmblood or Baroque horse conformation.
Some Knabstruppers are born with solid colors, such as bay or chestnut.
The Knabstrupper breed was first established in 1812 in Denmark. A chestnut mare with leopard complex blanket markings was bred to a solid-colored stallion, producing a colt with dramatic spotting. The mare and her son were each bred to many other horses, producing many offspring with spotting and establishing the Knabstrupper as a breed.
This breed was once very popular, but later was crossbred with other horses, and whether any purebreds from this breed remain is not certain. They do well in dressage and show jumping, and are used in general riding, as carriage and as circus horses. In 1971, three Appaloosa stallions were imported to Denmark to add new blood to the Knabstrupper breed.
Knabstruppers today are bred in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Netherland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and most recently, the Czech Republic, Australia, and New Zealand.
Source - Wikipedia