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This heavenly horse is also the national emblem of Turkmenistan! This kind of horse is known worldwide for its speed, endurance, intelligence, and of course, its beauty. Did I mention that it can also adapt to severe climatic conditions? Gosh, what can’t it do!?
It is also one of the oldest breed of horses that still exist today. Maybe. Scientists can’t say for sure, because it’s pretty hard to determine our own human history, let alone horse history! In any case, the ancestors of this breed date back to horses that lived 3000 years ago! The famous historian Herodotus even mentioned this horse. Some say that the Akhal-Teke is a direct descendant of the Turkoman horse, a breed that is now extinct. The Akhal-Teke is listed as threatened, which is extremely rare with domestic animals.
This horse is also famous for its metallic sheen, caused by its extremely fine hairs. It always looks super glossy and shiny no matter what the color.
The younger ancestors of Akhal-Teke were golden, but now it is one of the few horse breeds that has a wide range of colors. The 3 main colors are black, bay and red. The stallions of this breed have influenced many breeds and were often given to Heads of State and important people in foreign lands.
Sorraia is a very rare breed of horse, specific to the Iberian Peninsula, in the area surrounding the Sorraia River in Portugal. Hence the name. Previously the breed was simply known by the locals as “zebro” or “zebra”. This is because newborn foals, were born with hair that would lay in stripe-like patterns. This horse is known for its primitive features and they lived practically wild on a large estate until 1999. When outsiders discovered them in 1920, few could believe that a wild horse subspecies had survived in Europe for that long.
This entire breed was isolated and unknown to science for such a long time that we don’t really know much about their past. What we’ve found out is that they share similar characteristics with Mustangs in the western part of the United States.
This suggests that Spanish conquistadors took Iberian horses to the Americas during their trips abroad and one breed must have been the ancestor of the Sorraia. Today the breed is almost extinct, with less than 200 horses existing as of 2007. They are mainly found in Portugal, but also in Germany, where they are used for different things like herding bulls, dressage riding or light harness.
6. German Forest Horse
Also known as the Black Forest Draft Horse, this horse is a small but very tough draft breed with a high fertility rate and a long life span. Even though they are tough, this breed is almost extinct. They are about 600 years old, and for most of the time, this breed was used almost exclusively for forestry work because of their immense strength, patience and gentle temperament. They also have a dark chestnut coat with a flaxen mane and tail, their short head has small ears and large eyes, their chest is broad, and their legs are trim and strong with little feathering. The most common color for them is dark chestnut, but they can also be gray or bay.
They began to decline during the 20th century when their jobs were taken by machines. Back in 1981 only 160 registered broodmares were reported! Since then the government stepped in to help protect the Black Forest horse breed and only the finest stock was used, so now they boast that those that remain are of the best quality.
Today a major breeding center is located at Marbach, where only 16 from a total of 46 State Approved Stallions are located. The rest are scattered in different private breeding facilities.
Origins Explained is the place to be to find all the answers to your questions, from mysterious events and unsolved mysteries to everything there is to know about the world and its amazing animals!