Gothland Horse Breed
The Gothland Pony is claimed as the oldest breed in Scandinavia and one that is relatively free from alien blood. As with so many other ancient breeds, its ancestry in many respects is open to doubt, although it is said to be descended from the wild horses of the Asian continent. In more modern times Arab blood was introduced, but even this was many years ago. The breed has enjoyed much popularity over a long period while it has also suffered periods when there was a decline in this.
Following a marked decrease in numbers of the breed at the beginning of the 20th century, when the general quality, however, showed a marked improvement, at the present time successful and more controlled breeding seems to be taking place.
Today the following is a fair description of the Gothland Pony. It is a small, rather light, and elegant pony, which is gentle and easily handled. It has a small head with a broad forehead, small pricked ears, big expressive eyes, big nostrils, with a firm mouth. The neck is short and muscular with long sloping shoulders; the back is on the long side; croup round and short. The legs, though the light of bone, are strong and well covered with muscle, while the hoofs are small, hard, and of good shape. The height is 12 to 12½ hands. All colors including Duns and Palominos.
Breton Horse Breed
A breed that enjoys in France an excellent reputation, thanks to its great hardiness and working qualities, is the Breton. Bred on the rather poor land of Bretagne and exposed to a very rough climate, especially during winter, the Breton makes a very good agricultural horse, being strong and hardy and thriving on poor, indifferent food. There are three distinctive types of Breton horse: heavy-draught horse, Breton draught post horse, and Breton mountain draught horse.
The first one is bred on the fertile pastures near the seacoast and represents a type of heavy carthorse. Those bred in the district of St. Pol de Léon, Cotes du Nord, and Finistére stand from 15.2 to 16.2 hands, while the variety of Conquet bred in the southeast of Brest, is about 15.2 hands. They are strong and massive, standing on short legs protected by some feather, and are usually grey or bay.
In the interior of Bretagne, there is bred a lighter horse, so-called draught post horse, which is believed to be descended from the Norfolk Breton post-horse. They stand about 15 to 16 hands, and is not only a strong and hardy horse but also a very good mover, makes a very valuable horse for the farmer.
Besides these two types, there exists a thickset mountain draught Breton horse, which is up to 14.3 hands and is bred and employed in the mountainous part of Bretagne.
As is shown, the Breton horse is to be found in three types which in the main consist of animals of three different sizes – an example, of course, of a country or district breeding the type or types of horses which local requirements demand. This is comparable to the three types or sizes of the Highland pony in Scotland or those three to be found in Wales, the Cob, the Welsh pony of riding type, and the Welsh Mountain pony. The continued existence of the Breton as three types, or indeed its existence at all, must depend upon supply and demand and it may well be that the smaller or mountain draught horse will be the one that survives.
Hungarian Shagya Horse Breed
As equine skulls dating from the period of the Magyar invasion show, the Hungarian horse had prevailing characteristics of the wild tarpan with a certain admixture of the blood of the Mongolian horse. It was a hardy, primitive breed, late maturing, small, and possessed of great endurance. Later on, numerous Turkish invasions were responsible for introducing to the Hungarian horse a strong dose of oriental blood by crossing with Arab, Turkish, and Persian stallions. The Hungarian farmers’ horse is a descendant of this horse, although some changes have occurred in it because of the large number of half-bred horses which spread their influence all over the country.
It is a light horse standing roughly about 15 hands, with very good strong legs, intelligent head, and lively temperament, used for both saddle and harness. It is bred on a rather rough manner, fed only on maize, oat straw, and grass, and taken in to work as a two-year-old. This native stock was excellent material for establishing the new, popular Hungarian breeds, which were bred on a large scale for military purposes in the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The best Hungarian breed, which can in fact be considered as a special kind of Arab half-bred, is the Shagya. The name is derived from a stallion of that name which was responsible for the foundation of the breed. There is a tradition still adhered to that stallions of this breed have the same name with the addition of a Roman number, which shows to which generation after the original Shagya the horse belongs.
Genetically this breed was very well established, thanks to much careful inbreeding. The Shagya is an extremely hardy horse, standing from 14 to 15 hands, an excellent mover, thriving on very little food, and having not only looks but also most of the qualities of Arab. In color most of them are grey.
The horse, being the best light-cavalry and light-carriage horse, is bred all over Hungary and the neighboring countries. The main stud is in Babolna. Many of the Shagya stallions after 1918 were imported to Poland and caused great improvement to appear in Polish horse breeding, especially in the southern part of Poland.
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