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Mongolian Horse

Oliver Jones

There are various horse breeds in all shapes, colors, and sizes, each serving a specific purpose. Yet, amidst the stiff competition, the Mongolian horse breed remains a consistent favorite among modern-day horse lovers.

Having this horse breed can be a tremendously rewarding experience. It forces you out of your comfort zone by encouraging you to be adventurous and enriches your family’s life.

But then it takes a passionate person to keep one because these animals require discipline and skill. It would help if you had in-depth knowledge about this horse breed before you take on the task of finding one.

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Quick Facts About the Mongolian Horse Breed

Species Name: Equus Ferus Caballus
Family: Equidae
Care Level: Independent and requires minimal attention
Temperament: Docile, friendly, loyal, calm, reliable
Color Form: Dun, shun, brown, black, gray, roan, beige, white, palomino
Lifespan: 20-40 years
Size: 48 inches to 56 inches in height, weigh 550-800 pounds
Diet: Grass, tree barks, less water
Habitat: Enclosures stretching 1-12 square miles

Mongolian Horse Breed Overview

The Mongolian horse is Mongolia’s native horse breed and one of China’s indigenous breeds. According to experts, this animal is among the oldest horse species and has ancient bloodlines, as evidenced by signs like a continuous line down along the spine and zebra stripes on their legs.

Also known as Przewalski’s horse or Takhi, this horse remains unchanged since Genghis Khan’s times during the 13th century. The Mongolian’s rever it because, thanks to its exceptional strength, the Mongolian leader, Genghis Khan, managed to conquer a Chinese empire and brought it to Europe.

These animals survived on little food and water and had long-distance endurance giving soldiers ample time to outlast the enemy. Today, they serve as food, used in horse racing, and as riding and transport animals, especially by nomads. They are also valuable for their hair.

As a result of its long history and success in the military, breeders used these horses to influence and develop other horses all over Asia and Europe. The breeders have attempted to cross the Mongolian horses with the Arabic horses to give them a little more height, make them bigger and faster.

Interestingly, the horse breed organizations have not yet recognized the Mongolian horse breed despite being in existence for a long time. However, they are a part of the Mongolians, who raise them using a “hands-off” technique in a semi-wild way. The Mongolians allow them to roam freely and without supervision.

przewalskis horse
Image Credit: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay

How Much Do Mongolian Horse Breed Cost?

Mongolians didn’t breed this horse for commercial purposes. For this reason, it can be quite hard to find a Mongolian nomad who will agree to sell his horse. However, because these horses cost almost nothing to raise, they are not fancy items in Mongolia.

Mongolian horses can cost between $300 to $500, mainly due to their tolerance, athleticism, and depending on its number of awards. The good thing is, they don’t require expensive maintenance, food, or grooming and can survive on what nature provides.

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Typical Behavior and Temperament

The Przewalski is a quiet, independent, docile horse but affectionate, friendly, calm, reliable, and loyal after getting used to its owner. Mongolian horses tend to be social animals towards their own and prefer living in herds. They also have prey instincts and can act so defensive when they sense danger.

The mares are protective of their kids and get aggressive, especially during their initial 6 to 8 months. Like other horses, the Takhis neigh to communicate, and they can do so when stressed or to warn other horses of predators.

przewalskis wild horse
Image Credit: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay

Appearance & Varieties

Looks

The Mongolian horse is an attractive semi-wild breed with a unique appearance from the other horse species. One of the distinctive features is its pony-like small size. It is small and stockier, standing around 48 inches to 56 inches, and weighing between 550 pounds to 800 pounds.

This breed also has a cannon bone external circumference of about 8 inches. You can easily recognize it by its short legs that support a relatively large head, short neck, a Roman nose, and a stocky build.

In contrast to its size, the Przewalski horse is hardy, strong, tough, with good stamina and wild energy. Its legs have incredible joints and hard hooves that do not require regular trimming and rarely catch foot rot.

Despite their petite stature, these animals can gallop for almost 10 km at a stretch, although they are a bit slower than other horses. They canter while moving and may occasionally display a gait that makes them look like they are gliding on ice. Interestingly, just like their cousin Zebra, the Mongolian horses boast erect manes and long thick tails with no forelocks.

Coat

The Mongolian horse breed has an incredibly thick winter coat that can tolerate extreme heat and cold. They also have valuable hair that people use to make violin bows, ropes, ornaments, and fiddle strings.

Color

These horses come in various colors because Mongolians breed them according to the colors they prefer most. They are available in the brown, white, gray, roan, black, bay, shun, beige, dun, and palomino colors. What stands out in all of them is the lighter underbelly and darker backs contrasting their white muzzles.

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How to Take Care of Mongolian Horse Breeds

Although Mongolian horses are semi-wild and may not need as many resources and affection as other breeds, they require care. However, always remember that they usually retain most of their wild behavior while in individual care. So, how do you care for these supremely tough animals?

Enclosure

If you intend to keep this animal on a small farm, keep it in an open stable that still protects it from wind, predators, and rain. And, they require lots of space that allows them to roam freely without hindrance by human-made barriers.

Since they are always on the move, the enclosure should be anywhere from 1 to 12 square miles as they can roam over 13 miles in a day. But then, spring storms and heavy snowfalls can make these horses lose weight during winter. For this reason, you should provide them both winter and summer care.

For instance, during winter, the enclosure should offer them free grazing space during the day. They should also be able to return to their pens voluntarily in the afternoons when escaping the extreme cold.

Bedding

The good thing is, you don’t require luxurious bedding for these animals. But their bedding should still be favorable, with adequate soaking capacity. You can use dry hay, wood shavings, or straw as beddings of a Mongolian horse.

Climate

These horse breeds have a secret weapon—a heavy winter coat that can help them withstand extreme temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius. However, domesticated Mongolian horse would be more comfortable at outdoor temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius.

Do Mongolian Horse Breeds Get Along with Other Pets?

Mongolian horse species are more comfortable in herds, where they can look after each other. Therefore, owners should provide horse partners for their horses in captives. Other than that, these animals are social and have a reputation for forming close relations with other animals that portray the same personalities as them, such as cats and chickens.

They can also share common grounds with other animals like sheep, goats, and camels. However, it’s natural for the Mongolian breeds to be afraid of predatory animals such as dogs. The presence of a dog may startle a horse because of the horse’s natural prey instincts.

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What to Feed Your Mongolian Horse Breed

The good thing is, Mongolian horse breeds are used to the “hands-off” treatment and training. Since they don’t usually identify with special treatment, you may not need to give them special foods like grain, hay, or vegetables.

You can feed them nothing but grass and very little water—something they picked when bracing the ancient harsh terrains. Mongolian horses can hunt for their food during winter, graze on steppes, or paw beneath the snow to access grass. But because of little food, they may lose up to 30% weight and regain the weight during summer to survive.

przewalskis wild horses
Image Credit: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay

Keeping Your Mongolian Horse Breed Healthy

Although the Mongolian horses boast self-sufficiency and can be left to fend for themselves, a few treats such as better feeds, better enclosures, love, and affection can keep them happy and healthy. For instance, you can schedule grooming sessions once in a while, not only for your horse’s well-being but also for bonding.

You can maintain its dense coat by combing to remove debris and dead hair from its mane.  Or, clean and trim its hoof using a hoof pick and check for infections and injuries, even if they rarely get hoof rot.

Apart from grooming, improve their diet by supplementing the grass and tree barks with occasional treats like hay, carrots, and grains. Also, ensure that their enclosures are clean and dry and give them access to veterinary care.

Breeding

These horses are semi-wild, and like other wild horses, they mate during the spring season. However, horse owners can apply planned mating and selective breeding on domesticated Mongolian horses.

You can help bring the female horse into heat by putting it “under the light.” It means you can ensure their enclosures have sufficient lighting for up to 16 hours during winter to simulate a longer day. By doing so, the mare will get into heat and desire the male sooner than it would in the wild.

Just like other horses, the females signal the male by urinating while raising the tail and exposing the vulva. A stallion will then sniff her urine to know if she’s ready to mate.

The Mongolian female horses are ready to give birth by the age of three and have a gestation period of 11 to 12 months. Being the hardy creatures they are, Mongolian mares give birth without human help or supervision.

Related Read: 13 Asian Horse Breeds and What You Should Know About Them

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Are Mongolian Horse Breeds Suitable for You?

Horse owners require a tremendous amount of care and skill for their animals to survive and thrive. But that’s not the case with Mongolian horse breeds.

Although it seems ironic that domestic Mongolian horses’ lifestyle does not fit a domesticated pet’s criteria, these breeds are generally content pets to keep. They are tolerant of extreme conditions and do not require much attention, food, or medical care like other horse breeds. Better still, you don’t have to construct fancy enclosures for them.

The only role you need to play is to keep them safe from predators, extreme cold and give them enough space to exercise. These horses can live for 20-40 years despite their semi-feral lifestyle.


Featured Image: Yerbolat Shadrakhov, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.