There are many beautiful horses in the world and in one way or another they have given pleasure to mankind for centuries. Today, the horse is used more for pleasure in the Western world, although in many countries around the globe, horses, mules and donkeys are still seen as valuable working animals.
Most people have heard about the gorgeous and graceful Arab, and many people are familiar with the turn of speed a thoroughbred can boast about. But have you ever heard about a Abaco Barb or a Tiger Horse?
This small horse with near perfect conformation is native to Iran. At one time the breed was thought to be extinct but today through the endeavours of a lady called Lousie Firouz who rediscovered the Caspian back in 1965, this remarkable horse is making a comeback.
There is evidence that show this gorgeous breed has been around since 3,000 BC which pre-dates any other recognised breeds of horse in the world. Today there are around 2000 of these lovely little horses which excel at jumping and driving.
They are also perfect small horses for children but Caspians are sharp so they need someone experienced on their backs or holding the reins.
The Abaco Barb is one of the rarest and most endangered breeds of horse on the planet. Once common in the Bahamas, these magnificent horses arrived on the islands with the explorer Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. Then in the 1800's, wild Abaco Barbs were found on the island of Great Abaco but sadly these lovely animals were hunted for sport and for food. To make matters even worse for the breed, they were over time poisoned by many of the pesticides that were commonly used in farming on the islands.
Native to China, this gorgeous small horse that stands barely at 10 hands high, was on its way to becoming extinct a few years ago. The Guoxia is sometimes called the Rocky Mountain pony and is an ancient breed that was used for riding. They are one of the very few genuine miniature ponies of the world.
The breed is thought to have been around in the Song dynasty (960 to 1279 AD) and were native to certain districts in south western China, mainly in the mountainous regions of this vast country. They were used as working ponies in orchards but also for leisure, with many emperors and their mistresses favouring these delightful creatures as ridung horses.
In 1981, when it was thought the breed had indeed become extinct, around 1000 of the ponies were discovered in mountainous regions of China.
Native to Greece, it was at one time thought this lovely breed had indeed become extinct, but a breeding stallion was discovered which hopefully means the breed will not be lost forever. The Andravida is also known as the Illia although occasionally the breed is simply called the “Greek”.
The delightful Marsh Tacky is today a rare breed that boasts being a direct descendant of the Colonial Spanish horse brought over to South Carolina in the 1600s. Today, the breed is the official horse for the state and measures have been put in place to save the breed from disappearing from the planet.
This lovely breed historically carried out many jobs, they were ridden and as carriages horses as well as in agriculture ploughing fields. They proved themselves to be sure footed trail rides and that they had a lot of stamina when out hunting.
There are only around 200 of the breed left in the world today but everything is being done that can be done to rescue the breed from vanishing.
Native to the Iberian Peninsula, this lovely breed can be found in certain regions of Spain and Portugal, and is the closest living horse to the Tarpan, a breed of horse that is now extinct. Some people believe, the breed is not a breed in itself but a sub-species but this remains pretty unclear. The breed is small but incredibly hardy being able to adapt to harsh weather very easily.
With only around 200 left in the world, these delightful and colourful little Indian ponies are direct descendants of the Spanish Colonial horse bred in the 1500s. Luckily for the breed, a famous animal geneticist called Dr Phillip Sponenberg became involved, saving them from total extinction.
Also known as the Thessalys, this gorgeous breed is native to Greece. In ancient times, Alexander the Great is thought to have ridden a Thessalian horse called Bucephalus.
The breed although small is lively and very free moving. Sadly, the actual breed is thought to be extinct in its purest form but breeder have crossed them with Arabs which are the horses we see in Greece and other parts of the world today.
You would think this rare breed would be striped due to its name. However, it is not but a few of the now rare breed does boast striped hooves.
The Tiger Horse is related to the Appaloosa, however, they are not considered the same at all, with only very few new foals being registered annually due to the high standards imposed to prove the breed.
Back in 2005, there were as few as 50 Tiger Horses in the world but numbers have been slowly increasing due to the renewed interest in the breed.
Native to Japan, this lovely small breed only stands around 12 hands high. Back in the fifties, the Tokara was considered a national treasure in Japan but sadly over time and by the seventies, there was only one pure bred stallion left in the country.
Today, in the pure form, the Tokara is in fact, extinct but with a lot research and effort the breed has been recreated with around 100 now living on several of the islands of Japan.