Ancient Horse Breeds Still in Existence 2023 [4+ Oldest]

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Akhal-Teke Horse Breed

The “Teke” and Turkoman peoples of southern Turkmenia are responsible for the development of this breed, which is considered to be one of the oldest breeds. Because of the dry conditions of the desert, these Akhal-Teke horses have been tethered and hand-fed a mixture of Lucerne and barley since the beginning of time. They are a particular breed of saddle horses that were designed to survive in extreme temperatures and harsh living circumstances. They have gorgeous Persian heads, a noble expressive eye, long delicate necks, and the best of legs and feet. Their conformation is just exquisite. They are so fast that they are sometimes compared to greyhounds. Although bays and grays are common, the most desirable color combination is a light honey gold with black tips.

Zemaitukas Horse Breed

The expansive grasslands of Lithuania have long made it an excellent place for breeding good horses. Prior to World War II, animals from Lithuania were sent to the majority of European countries, including even Ireland. They were all referred to collectively as Russians due to the fact that the country at the time was a province of Russia. These, on the other hand, were not the pure native breed known as Zemaitukas, which is extremely uncommon in Western Europe and can be found nowhere else in the world. The name originates from the Lithuanian word “Zemaitifa,” which refers to the westernmost region of the country. It is correct to use the word in its plural form, which is Zemaitukai.

The Zemaitukai have been around for a very long time, and the two main ancestral strains—those that at the very least have had the most influence on the primitive type—were the Tartar pony of the steppes (also known as the Mongolian or Przevalski horse) and the Arab, which originated from animals brought by invading Teutonic Knights from Western Europe. Both of these strains can be traced back to the Tartar pony of the steppes. This latter strain was historically dominant and continues to be so today; in recent years, new Arab stock has helped keep it young.

The Zemaitukas have a very recognizably distinctive physical look. The dun color is the most common, with a light mane and tail; nevertheless, the mouse color and bay color can also be found, but less frequently. Every one of them has a dark dorsal stripe that goes all the way down to the tail. The skull is relatively small, and the eyes are brilliant and intelligent, yet they are exceptionally far apart. The curved back of the neck is short and highly muscular, and the mane is full and wavy. The breed can be identified by the strength of its forehand, which is a common trait. The hooves are tough and perfectly formed, and the legs are clean and robust, while having relatively few bones. The height ranged anywhere from 13 to 15 hands, and the weight might be anything from 800 to 1,000 pounds. In general, these animals are short, stocky, and well-made; they are brimming with latent fire and vitality; and, taken as a whole, they are deserving representatives of the type of ancient primitive pony.

This description must sound very familiar because it is so similar to so many of the Northern European breeds: the dun color, the dorsal or eel stripe, the short and muscular neck, and the thick, wavy mane. It is easy to see to what type the Zemaitukas belong based on this description, which must sound very familiar because it is so similar to so many of the Northern European breeds. The Zemaitukas horse, like all Russian horses and ponies, is one of the toughest horses that can be found. Many of these horses are brought up in a more or less wild state and subjected to great variations in temperature. The Zemaitukas owes a large portion of this hardiness to the law of the survival of the fittest, which, while it is a harsh law in and of itself, has done much in many parts of the world to produce so many breeds

Tarpan Horse Breed

The Tarpan was a primitive wild North European horse of the ‘Forest’ kind that was originally indigenous to Southern Russia, Poland, and Hungary. It went extinct many years ago and is no longer found anywhere in the world. The “Forest” horse, a prehistoric animal that is also present in America and that is similar to the Exmoor, went south at the beginning of the Ice Age, and crossed with a southern horse of the Arabian type, which led to the creation of this breed. The grayish Tarpan was the wild horse of the plains and woods, in contrast to the yellow Przevalski, which was the wild horse of the steppes and deserts. Despite being of a primitive type, the greyish Tarpan was significantly lighter in conformation and had a much more appealing head than the Przevalski.

Professor Lutz Heck, a renowned German naturalist and the Director of the Berlin Zoo, made the observation that every so often among the Polish Koniks, a pale mousy foal would be born. This foal was an identical reproduction of the extinct Tarpan in terms of both its coloration and its type. Around 1932, he began conducting experiments in the hope of resurrecting the Tarpan breed by mating Przevalski stallions with mouse-colored Konik mares. He did this by crossing Konik mares with Przevalski stallions.

By the time the second generation had passed, a Tarpan foal had finally been born. This Przevalski effect was addressed through the process of severe selection, and now, some seven decades later, the Tarpan is breeding true to type. Initially, it was an animal that was too robust to satisfy, but now it is breeding true to type. These ponies are confirmed to be genuine Tarpans by X-ray images of their skulls, teeth, limb bones, and vertebrae. They are an exact match to the Tarpans that passed away and only left their bones to show us what they looked like.

The modern Tarpan is a pony that stands 12 hands tall and has the coloration of a yellowish-grey mouse. It has black legs and a tail, a white belly, a dark dorsal stripe, and a light upright mane with a black stripe running down the middle.

Kathiawari and Marwari Breed

The southern foothills of the Himalayas are home to a number of extinct animal species, including one that is identical to the British horse. As a result, it is possible that the Thoroughbred and the Indian country-bred both have a distant common ancestor in the horse of the Siwaliks, despite the fact that they would hardly be able to communicate with each other now. The latter can be found in all regions of India, but the majority of its occurrences are on the arid and rocky plains that stretch from the Indus to the Ganges and further south into the Deccan.

In general, he is a wretched little creature that is thin, weedy, and very narrow. His front legs ‘come out of the same hole,’ as the saying goes, and he rarely stands more than 13 to 1312 hands tall. However, he has feet and legs made of cast iron, incredible toughness and endurance, and the ability to survive on almost nothing. In contrast to what most people believe, Indians have never been skilled horsemen and have always been a poor leader of their mounts.

A number of distinct varieties have arisen, typically as a result of the admixture of foreign stock. The Kathiawari and the Marwari are the most notable and well-known of these varieties; due to the high degree of similarity between their ancestry and their characteristics, it is possible to group them together. However, it is important to mention the Unmol, which literally translates to “priceless,” and variants of which were bred in the northern part of Punjab. Tradition has it that they are descended from horses that Alexander the Great took with him when he conquered India. They are said to be exceedingly powerful, graceful, and shapely, with a long mane and compact body, and they were introduced to India by Alexander the Great. The pure breed, on the other hand, is almost completely extinct at this point; the ones that are still kept alive by local maliks are heavily diluted with imported Thoroughbreds and Arab blood.

The peninsula of Kathiawar, which is located on the northwest coast of India between the gulfs of Cutch and Cambay, is where the Kathiawari language got its name. It is stated that a ship carrying Arab horses that ran aground on the west coast of India is the common progenitor of the Kathiawari and the Marwari, who live in Rajputana. The Marwari live in the state of Rajputana. These horses were free to roam the plains and jungles of Kathiawar and Marwar, where they naturally interbred with the native ‘country-bred’ pony population.

Both of these breeds have distinct traits that are unique to them, such as the inward-pointing of the tips of the ears, which almost meet, and the preponderance of sickle hocks. The Arab strain may be seen most clearly in the top examples of both of these breeds. They can be anywhere from 14 to 15 hands tall, and the colors chestnut, brown, bay, grey, piebald, and skewbald are among the most common, along with certain creams. Those Kathiawaris with the best pedigrees are in high demand for racing, and back in the day, height restrictions were applied in polo. It is not out of the question to assume that Kipling’s “Maltese Cat” had at least one coworker who was a Kathiawari. Both the Nawab of Junagarh and Palitana keep breeding populations of these animals at their own stud farms.

Horse breeding was the primary industry of Marwar during the Middle Ages, and the Marwari is known to have played a significant role as a warhorse in the history of Rajasthan. According to Ain-i-Akbari, the entire Rajput people of this region comprised an imperial service cavalry consisting of more than 50,000 horses. The Maharaja of Jodhpur has been working on developing this breed in order to make it more desirable.

They are sturdy and hardy, with considerable staying powers as well as an easy walk and, it must be added, an unpredictable temperament, much like all other people who were “country-bred.”

Because neither of these two breeds had been used extensively by the British for polo or any other purpose for a number of years prior to the withdrawal of the British Army, it is not possible to say that the withdrawal of the British Army had any particular impact on the number of ponies that were bred. Taking into consideration the wild nature of the land that serves as their natural habitat as well as the basic agricultural requirements of the locals, it is possible that these ponies will be able to survive in this time and place as well as any others, despite the fact that the global population of horses and ponies is continuously on the decline.

In the event that this proves to be the case, it is possible that some grading-up will take place as a result of the introduction of “foreign” blood, similar to how it has in the past.

You will be amazed to know that there are still ancient horse breeds in existence. Click to know more.

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