Asturcón, Ariègeois, Arravani, Asiatic Wild horse, Asil, Assateague and Astrakhan
Also called Kalmykskaya and Kalmyk, the Astrakhan is a member of the Mongolian equine group, and bred in the territory along the Volga & Ural rivers. This breed is in danger of becoming extinct.
The Kalmyk breed came to Russia from Dzungaria in the 17th century by the Kalmyk people and were described as plain, medium-sized animals that were very tough and possessed speedy gaits. They look similar to the Kirgiz horse but tend to be coarser with longer legs.
Selective breeding of these animals ended around 1943, and many cross breeds have changed the landscape of the bloodlines considerably.
In 1986 the local University of Cattle Breeding attempted to determine their numbers and located an isolated heard in the eastern regions that seemed to be of purer blood. Of around 2000 animals, only about 500 were considered suitable to develop a breeding farm in an attempt to preserve the breed.
Average height 14.2 – 15 hands Can be pacers
Firm constitution Strong, sound feet
These animals are slow to mature, taking 6 years to reach full development.
Assateague – Chincoteague Pony
Assateague and Chincoteague ponies are essentially the same animals, they inhabit the island of Assateague off the coast of the Maryland – Virginia border.
There are several theories as to the origins of these animals, however their existance on the island has been documented back to around 1631.
In 1639 horses were imported to the colony, which was encouraged by local government until the sheer numbers became a burden on the local habitat. In 1669 horses were taxed by the local government and owners were required to pen them during late summer and early fall.
It was this taxation which created the Assateague – Chincoteague ponies. Planters began to take their horses to nearby islands to avoid the cost of taxes and fencing.
By 1671 importation of horses to the local area was forbidden by law for three years and the unwanted horses were turned loose to live in the island marshes. Often domesticated animals were branded and turned loose with the herd to graze.
The herd on the Maryland side is managed by the National Park Service and the herd on the Virginia side is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and permitted to graze on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Every year during the last week of July the ponies are rounded up for their famous swim to Chincoteague for the Pony Penning Carnival. During this week young, strong animals are auctioned off with proceeds going back to care of the herd. The remaining ponies are returned to Assateague. This practice keeps the pony numbers down and increases quality of life for the herd.
Through the years, storms and natural events have threatened this breed of pony, so today’s ponies have been influenced by the blood of other animals
Average height 12 – 14 hands in the wild, when domesticated they can grow up to 16 hands Independent and hardy through natural selection Legs are slim, strong with good joints and hard feet
Head is small and refined with widely spaced eyes Much of their diet is salt-rich marsh grass, because of this they drink twice the water of normal animals. This can cause them to look rather bloated.
Named for the region where it is bred in Khuzestan, the bloodlines of the Asil horse are kept within local tribes and families.
The actual origins of this horse seems to have several theories and from what I read, many of the western interpretations of their history are lost in translation. However rock carvings have been found in the area that date back 5,000 years.
Breeding of these animals was thought to bring spiritual & material gain to those who kept them. Interestingly enough mares were prized over stallions, because during night raids they were less likely to make noise upon smelling other animals.
Like many different types of Arabian breeds, strains were developed by different families and breeders.
Average height 14.3 hands Build for speed & stamina they are quick, efficient animals
Short, dished and refined head with small muzzle Large, expressive eyes Short curved ears Short, strong back Strong, clean legs
Also called Equus Przewalskii, Asiatic Wild horse, Mongolian Wild Horse and Taki, the Przewalski’s Horse is the only known surviving species of wild equine on the planet since the extinction of the Tarpan. All other breeds of equine on the planet come from domesticated horse (yes, even the wild ones – at some point they were reintroduced to the wild.
There is controversy surrounding the origins of this breed, some think they are the ancestors to modern domestic horse, but others disagree. The Przewalski carries 66 chromosomes & domestic horse carries 64, their offspring fertile & carries 65 chromosomes which may indicate that they are a different species altogether.
These animals were first discovered early in the 15th century by a Bavarian who was traded east until he wound up with the Mongols. They were recorded again in the 18th century by a Scottish doctor sent to China. However the men responsible for their interesting name & their official discovery was a Russian explorer named Colonel Przewalski.
Sadly until very recently the Przewalski’s Horse was extinct in the wild, hunted into oblivion, but in 1992 several breeding groups combined their herds and released them in Mongolia. Initially they were penned in and guarded against predators with the intention of releasing them in a few years time.
Average height 12 – 14 hands
Head is large & heavy with a straight profile Eyes are large & heavy Eyes are small Neck is broad & short with a short, upright mane Back is straight & long Chest is deep Shoulder is straight & short Legs are short & sturdy Hooves are narrow & elongated Tail has a tuft at the end
The Arravani is a Greek horse that is in danger of extinction and only about 200-300 of them are left in the world today.
This breed has been influenced by Egyptian Arabians, Medern, Greek Thessaliern, Roman horses and Turkish Arabian bloodlines. This combination created an animal that was comfortable to ride and personable.
For thousands of years they were used as agriculture workers by local farmers and for transporting loads over stony mountain paths.
The introduction of motorized vehicles saw a decline in their use that much of the stock was sold off as meat to Italian suppliers.
Average height 12.3 – 14.6 hands
Small, finely cut head with large eyes Highly set, strong neck Straight lines and short back Hooves are hard and small
Also known as the Merens pony, the Ariègeois pony is a rare mountain pony native to Pyrenees and Ariègeois mountains of Northern Spain and Southern France.
Thought to be of prehistoric ancestory, these ponies were originally domesticated for use in mines and hauling timber.
Physically they are very similar to Dales pony and the Friesian horse and it is believed that during the Muslim invasion local stock was enhanced by Arabian blood.
Through dilution of the bloodlines with local draft animals, the pure-bred specimen are rare and may only be found in the high valleys near Andorra. However their signature black coat continues to bear their mark in the cross-breeds.
The Ariègeois breeders generally raise their animals by allowing them to graze freely in herds as nature intended. This lends to their strength and character.
Average height 13 – 14.3 hands Strong constitution and able to thrive in poor conditions Built to handle severe weather Surefooted on mountainous terrain
Small, refined head Short, strong neck Long back and rounded hindquarters Feet are strong and sound Thick mane and tail
Surefooted and true, a willing and able mount An independent and stubborn spirit but responds well to training
Trekking in mountainous areas Riding horse Agriculture work
A breed from the Northwest of Spain, the Asturcón (or Asturian pony) has a natural ambling gait by which they alternate moving both legs on one side. A smooth ride, they became popular as ladies mounts in England and France and were later referred to as hobby horses.
Thought to be a cross of the Garrano ponies of northern Portugal and Spain (which is a direct descendent of the Celtic pony) and the Sorraia of Iberia.
Neither of these bloodlines produce the ambling gait, so it is thought that perhaps some of the Celtic ponies (which are similar to Icelandic ponies) were amblers and their blood is present in the Asturcón breed.
This breed has faced extinction, due to harsh geographical conditions in their feral habitat. Although their slim numbers created an interest in preserving their bloodlines, the breed is nearly extinct in its pure form.
Average height 11.2 – 12.2 hands
Small but heavy head with straight profile Neck is long and thin with flowing mane Back is straight and long Feet are well-shaped and tough