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Horse Relatives

PRZEWALSKI - Believed to be related to the Asiatic Wild Horse and was thought to be extinct due to over hunting by Mongolian tribesmen. In 1881 the Russian explorer colonel N M Przewalski found a small herd living at the edge of the Gobi desert in the Tachin Schar Nuru Mountains. It is possible to cross the Przewalski with the domestic horse. The offspring is fertile and has 65 chromosomes. If the offspring is again crossed with the domestic horse, it had 64 chromosomes and very little influence of the Przewalski remains. They are heavily built, primitive, 66 chromosomes (instead of 64) Always yellowish dun with a light coloured nose and a dark dorsal strip and zebra markings on legs A large head, with high set eyes to the side, long ears and no forelock. The mane is a dark color, grows upright and sheds in spring. A thick set neck with a heavy body, low set dark coloured tail. Average height is 12-13hh. They have a stubborn temperament and cannot be trained for riding. They can endure extreme heat and cold; survives on minimum of food. Small herds of Przewalski horses still live in the wild. They can also be found in zoos.                                           Przewalski Horse - Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo                     New Przewalski Horse Foal - ‘GENGHIS’


TARPAN - The Tarpan is believed to be an ancestor of the modern horse. It survived in its habitat of Eastern Europe and European Russia until the 19th century. It is believed that the last true Tarpan died in captivity in 1919. The Tarpan existing in Poland in reserves in semi wild herds today is believed to have been re-developed from the Konik horse which shows strong resemblance to the Tarpan. Crossing of Konik mares and Przewalski stallions produced a horse which looks like the original Tarpan. It is of lighter built than the Przewalski horse. Only very few Tarpan horses still exist in the wild, the majority of the breed is owned by dedicated breeders. In Europe some breeders cross the Tarpan with Thoroughbreds to produce horses suitable for hunting. In Canada they are often crossed with Welsh-Arabians developing a new pony breed.  With a lot of love and patience the Tarpan can be trained for riding. They are sturdily built, with a large head and jaw, a thick neck, short body with a strong back and very low withers. strong limbs and very strong feet that don't require shoes. The mane and tail are a dark colour, and the body is either brown or mouse dun often with primitive dorsal strip and zebra markings. Average height is about 13hh. They have a friendly Temperament, and are very calm, very intelligent, curious, stubborn, self- relyence. They are trainable, good jumpers and agile.  A few links....    -


ZEBRA -  There are three separate species of zebra that are living:

The Grevy's Zebra - This is the biggest zebra. But also the most trainable types of zebra, They have lots of narrow vertical stripes, and big round ears. During the breeding season, the stallions do not have herds, each stallion defends a patch of land, trying to mate with any females that happen to come past.

Plains zebra - This more common smaller Zebra with rather wide vertical stripes on the body, and thick horizontal stripes on the rump. They can also be domesticated and have been used as harness animals, although harder to train than the grevys. They are easy keepers and are said to be more intelligent than donkeys.

The Mountain Zebra - They are smaller, and are recognizable by a dewlap under the neck. They are least suitable for training, partly because their conformation makes them poor riding or driving animals, and partly because ones captured from the wild are difficult to tame.

The Quagga - the half striped zebra (extinct in 1872)  - They were one of the most spectacularly beautiful zebras being very tame in captivity. They were used in harness in the 1800's. They were also used as guards for horses and sheep, as they were very bold at chasing off predators.


MULE or HINNY - A Mule is the offspring of a male donkey (Equus asinus) and a female horse (Equus caballus), where as a Hinny is the offspring of a female donkey (Equus asinus) + male horse (Equus caballus). Despite the fact that both mules and hinnies each have one horse and one donkey parent, the two crosses generally differ from each other in appearance and stature.

A Mule is said to have the body of a horse with the extremities of a donkey. They have long ears, short thin mane, a tail which has short hairs on the dock longer than the donkey's but with long hairs like the horse's, withers are low, the back flat with a goose rump, the body flat-sided with weaker quarters than the horse, the legs are donkey like, straight, with small, hard, dense, upright, straight-sided hooves.Mules have a hybrid vigour, they can grow taller than both parents. Weight for weight they are stronger, live longer and have longer working lives than horses, although they do mature later. They rarely get sick or lame and can withstand extremes of temperature and do well on very little feed. They have tremendous stamina and resilience and are exceptionally sure-footed.


The hinny generally has the body of a donkey with the extremities of the horse. They have shorter ears than a mule, the mane and tail longer and thicker, the legs stronger with hooves which are rounder and less upright, the body rounder and deeper, and the head shorter and narrower. Most common coat colour is blue-grey roan. hinnies differ far more from each other than do mules, with every imaginable variation, from being almost indistinguishable from a horse, through being mule-like, to being almost indistinguishable from a donkey. Hinnies are said to lack hybrid vigour, and it has always been recognised that they are smaller than mules (although this may partly be due to their being carried in a smaller womb), less strong and with less stamina and hardiness.


DONKEY - description to come...