At the Horse of the Year show this year there was a display of Caspian horses ... and I was amazed by their story.
They were thought to be extinct until in the 1960's a small horse was spotted pulling a cart. The horse seemed to have many of the characteristics of the Caspian. A few other similar horses were found in the area and mountains around the southern shores of the Caspian Sea where they were known as 'Mouleki' or 'Pouseki' ponies. Further investigations proved that they were descendants of the Caspian. After establishing that these horses 'bred true' a few were selected to become the foundation stock for the future of the breed.
They are known as horses rather than ponies because they have many traits in common with warm blooded horses. Caspian horses are agile and intelligent and have fantastic temperaments. They move with elegance, with long level paces and have a swinging trot and rapid gallop!
In ancient times, as early as 3000BC, small horses are pictured in stone carvings. Later, (circa 500BC) the Caspian was used to pull chariots by King Darius the Great. A frieze shows them in a procession for the king, and the smallest only reached to the waists of their handlers. Sadly after the 7th century AD there is no record of these horses, the libraries and museums were all destroyed in wars between Islam and Mongolia.
Height: Up to 12.2hh, average is 11.2hh
Colour: All colours, except piebald or skewbald.
Conformation: Pronounced foreheads with deep prominent jawbones. Eyes are large and often prominent and the muzzle fine with large nostrils. Ears are short and wide apart but often turn inwards at the top. The neck is long as are the shoulders and the body slim with a deep girth. The quarters are long and sloping and the hocks angled. Hooves are strong and there is little frog. Caspians' have thin skin and a silky coat which can be iridescent in the summer. The winter coat is thick and they have plenty of fine and silky tail and mane.
Temperament: Sensible, active and willing.
Used as an all rounder. They are great for children because of their narrow conformation. Mounted games, dressage, racing and in harness. They are also great jumpers.
For more information about these beautiful little horses have a look at the Caspian Horse Society Website: http://www.caspianhorsesociety.org.uk/
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Until next time!