Many people worldwide love horses and for good reason. They are hard workers, they are enjoyable to ride, and they are interesting to watch any time of day or night. Horses are bred all around the planet, including Asia. There are several different Asian horse breeds to marvel over, and they all have something unique to bring to the table.
Here, we highlight 13 Asian horse breeds that you may be interested in.
The Top 13 Asian Horse Breeds
1. The Riwoche Horse
This breed comes from Tibet and stands only about 12 hands high (48 inches tall) when fully grown. They have stout bodies full of dun-colored hair and upright manes that make them look a little like donkeys. The Riwoche horse is intelligent and easy to train, but they are known for having a short temper. They are typically used for riding and pulling wagons full of goods.
2. The Heihe Horse
The Heihe horse breed originates from the borders of China and Russia, specifically the city of Heihe, hence their name. These horses are commonly bred with larger Russian breeds to create hard-working horses that are prized on farms and homesteads in both China and Russian today. They are best known for having extreme endurance.
3. The Guizhou Pony
The farmers in Guizhou China developed these ponies to plow the fields and haul things like lumber and feed whenever necessary. They are vigorous animals that can easily adapt to different terrains and weather environments without warning. These are traveling ponies, and they do not mind moving for hours at a time, whether for fun or work.
4. The Marwari Horse
This is a rare horse breed, hailing from India. They have unique ears that curve inward, and their coats are usually in either piebald or skewbald colors. They are typically used for riding nowadays, although like most Asian horses, they are known for being hard workers and intelligent companions. Their fearless nature and tenacity may be a result of having been used for battle support beginning in the 12th century.
5. The Mongolia Horse
Usually referred to as the Mongol horse, this breed comes from Mongolia and currently makes up more than the human population in the region. These horses are used to living outdoors day and night, so they are hardy enough to handle harsh winter months and hot summers. These are excellent grazers and require a large amount of land to forage on.
6. The Miyako Pony
The Miyako pony is a beautiful breed of horse that hails from the island of Miyako in Japan. They were bred with large stallions during the World War II era and have since fought to stay in existence. At one point, there were only seven known purebred Miyako ponies in existence, and the number has fluctuated throughout the years. Today, these horses are protected by the Japanese Government.
7. The Altai Horse
Coming from central Asia, the Altai horse is a strong breed that is commonly crossbred with Russian and Lithuanian draft horses. They come in multiple colors, including bay, black, gray, and chestnut. These animals were bred to survive harsh conditions and are used to foraging sparse lands. They are known for having an impressive respiratory and cardiovascular system that helps them endure long days of work.
8. The Xilingol Horse
This Mongolian horse breed is popular for both drafting and riding purposes. These are not particularly popular horses, and there is not much known about their history besides where they came from. We do know that they are commonly used for riding, training, and drafting. They come in a variety of colors and never seem to tire.
9. The Lijiang Pony
These ponies were specifically bred to withstand high climate zones and harsh terrain. They haul heavy materials between villages and carry passengers to and from trading posts. These horses are also crossbred to create horses of varying talents. Some are bred with other pony breeds, while others are bred with large horse breeds, such as the Arabian.
10. The Ferghana Horse
First developed in central Asia, these horses were one of the first breeds imported to China. They are an extremely old breed that is depicted in earthenware and can be traced back to 206 B.C. In English, their name means “sweats blood”. They were so named because it was thought that these horses looked like they were sweating blood due to their hair patterns and colors.
11. The Tibetan Pony
As suggested by their name, this horse breed hails from Tibet. They are lanky and look timid, but they are extremely intelligent and robust. They are used to traveling through the mountains of Mongolia and can withstand both cold and snowy environments, as well as hot and sunny days. Although they are some of the smallest Asian horse breeds in existence, they show great strength and stamina that can outshine some of the largest horse breeds out there.
12. The Nangchen Horse
The Nangchen horse is a small horse that sometimes gets confused for a pony. They come from Northern Tibet, and since the 9th century, they have remained a pure breed. It was not until the 20th century that this breed was officially recognized by Western nations, all thanks to the work of a French anthropologist named Michel Peissel.
13. The Yonaguni Horse
This elegant horse is an endangered breed that is protected by the Japanese government. Unfortunately, there are fewer than 200 horses of this breed in existence. As with most Asian horse breeds, this one has a small yet strong and robust stature. Also, this horse likes to work and takes pride in everything they do.
These beautiful horses are all worth learning about. Unfortunately, none are that well-known around the world and many are endangered today. We can all help honor their existence by learning and talking about them, to help keep them alive within our cultures. Let us know which Asian breed interests you the most in the comments section.
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Yonaguni Horse (Image Credit: sota, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)