Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Caspian Horse

 In the late 1950s, Louise Firouz moved to Tehran, Iran with her husband, establishing a children's riding school in Norouzabad once she got there. However, since only large hot-blooded horses were available to her, and she believed that such horses were not suitable for young riders, she decided to hunt for a smaller, more cool-headed breed.  For years she searched for the perfect mount for children riders. Finally, in 1965, while exploring the densely forested Elburz Mountains near the Caspian Sea, she found what she was looking for: a small, calm, Arabain-like horse. 

 She purchased one of the horses from a nearby villager, naming the breed Caspian since it had no other name. Then she collected some feral horses of the same breed. She had a feeling that she had found something important that day, as if she had rediscovered an ancient breed. Later, zoologists performed DNA, bone, and blood tests, proving that Caspians were direct descendants of Horse Type 4, an ancestor of the Arabian and other hot-blooded horses that was thought to be extinct for over 1,300 years. They believed that the Caspian had survived all these years because their homeland had been secluded from the rest of the world, blocked by Elburz Mountains on one side and the Caspian Sea on the other.

 After discovering breed, Firouz founded a breeding program to preserve the almost extinct horse breed.   However, in 1974, when war and political turmoil tormented the country, the breed almost became extinct. During that time, Firouz tried to export many of the horses as she could, but she was only able to export 33 mares and stallions. From those 33 horses, the breed began thrive in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, North America, and the rest for Europe. 

 In the '90s, after the all the trouble in her country ended, Firouz began another breeding program, this time at Persicus Farm, which is currently overseen by the Iranian government.

Caspians, like the one above, resemble Arabians with
high-set tails, a dished face, and a prominent forehead.
Visit Equus Callabus for credit.
 The Caspian horse, unlike most other horses, quickly reaches full height of around 9 to 12 hands at the young age of 18 months. They resemble the Arabian in many aspects, with a dished face, a high-set tail, large eyes, a long neck, and prominent forehead. Their hooves a tough so they seldom are in need of shoeing. Although many people consider the Caspian a pony, they are incorrect since their skeletal structure is just like that of their full-sized cousins. In reality, they are small, well-bred horses.

Today, they are often used by children for gymkhana, dressage, jumping, and driving because of their athleticism and versatility, as well as their intelligent and willing nature.

 An interesting fact about the Caspian is that their genes seem to be dominant. Even if a mare has very little Caspian blood in her, she can throwback a foal with Caspian features. 

 Even after over thirty years of breeding, the Caspian is still considered a rare breed with critical status by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, The international registrar states that there are only about 450 left in the U.S. and 1,200 worlwide. Since 1965, only about 2000 have been registered.

1 comment:

  1. I love Caspians! Thanks for the info!


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