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The Akhal-Teke is one of the oldest known horse breeds to still be in existence. It has outlasted a number of other breeds that have come and gone out of the region that makes up Central Asia. Of the Four Foundation Breeds, the Akhal-Teke falls into the category of the Oriental subspecies, a category that also includes the Arabian. The other three species of Foundation breed include the Warmblood subspecies, the Draft and the Tarpan subspecies. All the known horse breeds of today are said to originate from one of these four categories. Who started the domestication of horses and when is not entirely known.
The Oriental subspecies has features that are much thinner and more streamlined than other breeds. They are tall and tend to have more tendon than muscle, making them perfect for athletic activities such as endurance rides or jumping. Early in their development, various breeds of the Oriental subspecies were often used to carry out raids on neighboring villages. [...]
When the Royal Stables of Lisbon Portugal needed an efficient carriage horse, it was the Alter Real that came about in the mid 1700's to satisfy the request. The Iberian breed was created using Andalusians and Arabians, resulting in a horse that could offer a smooth and reliable gait. Their well muscled physique gave them all the power they needed to pull the transport of royals in almost any terrain. To this day, the breed is still a symbol of royalty in both Spain and Portugal and the breed is often used in a number of traditional ceremonies throughout the region.
From time to time, the Alter Real is referred to as one of the Baroque Horses. Baroque Horses were those breeds that exhibited muscular hind ends, thick strong necks that were perfectly arched and a long full tail. They were often used for dressage and trained to perform a number of gaits and tricks with amazing precision. A more commonly known Baroque Horse is that of the Lippizan. The Andalusian, from which the Alter Real is descended, is also one of the Baroque Horse breeds. When the Alter Real was not pulling the carriages of royalty, it was being trained in the art of classic dressage as well. [...]
The Mangalarga Marchador is a gaited sport horse breed of Brazil, with attractive looks, soft temperament, and a rich historical background. Also the National Horse of Brazil, the Mangalarga Marchador is a highly sought after breed by cattlemen, endurance riders, sportsmen as well as pleasure riders. [...]
The Dartmoor Pony is one of those rare breeds whose beginnings we know little about. What we do know is that there have been wild ponies living on the moorland in Southern England in the present day county of Devon, for as long as there have been people living around the area. We're going to take a brief look at the history of the wild Dartmoor Pony, the conditions it had to contend with and the wild Dartmoor Pony that still roams in today's Dartmoor National Park.
While we can't say for certain exactly how long ponies have been living on the moorlands of Southern England, there is significant evidence that it's been a pretty long time. An archaeological excavation performed in the 1970's revealed some hoof prints on the Dartmoor that date from 3500 years ago. Where these the hoof prints of the earliest Dartmoor Ponies? If these findings are difficult to believe, at least we have a written record of the ponies' existence that dates from the 11th century. These ponies are mentioned in the will of a Saxon Bishop, which was written in 1082. In the next century, King Henry I took a stallion from the moors, which was then a Royal Forest, to be bred with royal mares. [...]
Even though the Lusitano has been bred in its native Portugal for centuries, it wasn't until the end of the 20th century that it earned its own studbook and stepped out of the shadow of its cousin, the Andalusian. In fact, the breed was nearly lost at the beginning of the 20th century due to several factors, and was only revived thanks to several dedicated breeders that didn't want to see the Lusitano become extinct. It is thanks to these breeders that the Lusitano still exists today. All of the Lusitanos can trace their lineage back six foundation horses in three distinct Lusitano Lineages. Here we'll take a look at the dramatic comeback of the Lusitano and the three main lines of the breed. [...]
The Haflinger can trace its history back to the mountain ponies that grazed in the Alps centuries ago and have since played an important role over the years in every day life in Austria. Although it was developed to perform different tasks over the years, this versatile horse was an integral part of daily life, whether it was for farm work, transportation, packing or even becoming a trusted and valued family horse. Although there are estimated to be over a quarter of a million Haflingers located all over the world, these blond beauties are a testament wherever they are found to their importance in their native Austria. [...]
To some, it may be surprising that a breed of horse that has such a long and traceable history as the Danish Knabstrup could ever have been in danger. But as any reputable breeder of any animal can tell you, popularity can bring about a breed's downfall. [...]
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Icelandic Horse is that it has remained a true pure breed for over eight hundred years. Over the centuries, the horse has adapted to this famously harsh environment and has also changed due to selective breeding, having always lived both in partnership with man and running free in the wild. While it might seem that a totally isolated breed would run the risk of the dangers of inbreeding, the Icelandic Horse has not only survived, but thrived under such difficult conditions. [...]
Today, the Hanoverian is among the most important Warmblooded breeds in the world. This breed is considered to be one of the most winning breeds, having won gold medals in all three Olympic equestrian disciplines, and is world renowned for its unparalleled temperament, agility and grace. Hanoverians have become synonymous with dressage, so it might surprise a lot of people that this breed has very humble beginnings as carriage horses, although rather prized ones by the end of the 18th century. Unlike other breeds with traditional driving backgrounds that have stuck close to their roots, the Hanoverian made the successful switch from driving to competitive riding. [...]
The Highland Pony is one of the nine native pony breeds of Great Britain and one of only two native to the Scottish mainland and islands. While ponies are not indigenous to the British Isles, it is thought that they arrived before the islands split away from the continent, which is still well before recorded history. Throughout its history, the Highland Pony no doubt had to adapt itself to this harsh environment and the demands that humans have placed on it over the centuries. Here we'll take a look at how the Highland Pony was forced to change in order to survive to become one of the most sought after British native ponies today. [...]
Many of Europe's most famous breeds of horses were nearly wiped out as a result of the two world wars that ravaged the continent during the twentieth century. But none perhaps came so close to the brink as the Hungarian Warmblood. In a story that sounds like it was made for the big screen, the breed was saved by no less a personage than General Patton, in addition to two Hungarian Countesses who made their own daring escapes to the United States after World War II and other enthusiasts of the breed. [...]