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Tarpan horse breed information

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Tarpan description

The mane and tail are flaxen, but dark in the center where the dorsal stripe passes through. The head is large, with massive jaws and thick neck. The back is short and strong, with very low withers. The hooves are dark and very tough, never requiring shoes. They seem to enjoy being ridden, but they do not like being told where to go. They do eventually respond to direction from the rider if patience is used. If the rider resorts to force rather than love, then the Tarpan may refuse to cooperate.

Tarpan horses have a natural ability to jump and also seem to enjoy pulling a car.


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Tarpan color

The Tarpan is mouse dun or grulla in color. The face and legs are darker than the body.

Tarpan size

They stand between 13 and 13.2 hh

Tarpan temperament

The Tarpan has a very calm disposition. They are friendly, curious and affectionate. The Tarpan is extremely intelligent. They are independent and quite stubborn. The Tarpan, unlike the domesticated modern horse, has not surrendered its freedom to man in trade for food and care, and therefore tends to rely more on its own view of a situation rather than to allow its owner to make decisions for it.

Tarpan origin

Eastern Europe, Russia

Tarpan history

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.

Tarpan health issues

The fertility rate is high and the breed is known for its hardy constitution and natural immune system.

Tarpan uses

Presently being used in riding programs for physically and mentally handicapped riders.

Tarpan influence

Several European pony breeds had descended from the prehistoric Tarpan. Primarily the Heck Brothers selected Polish Koniks, Icelandic Ponies, Swedish Gotlands and Polish Primitive Horses from the preserve in Bialowieza.

Tarpan interesting facts

The original wild Tarpan died out during the late 1800's. The last Tarpan horse died an a Ukranian game preserve at Askania Nova in 1876.

The first bred back Tarpan, a colt, was born May 22, 1933 at the Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, Germany.

There are about 50 Tarpans in North America, and perhaps only 100 in the world.

Tarpan pictures

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