Estonian Native Horse breed information
Estonian Native Horse horse general information
COLORThe predominant colors of the Estonian Native Horse are bay, chestnut, black and gray. There can also occur dun, cream and mouse-dun.
SIZEEstonian Native Horse is usually between 13.5 and 14.5 hands high.
WEIGHTThis horse breed can weigh up to 1000lbs, but usually around 430kg (950lbs).
LIFE EXPECTANCYThere are no rules but Estonian Native horse is considered to have a long life span.
ORIGINComposite of Estonian native (local) horse and Finnish Horse; imports from Finnhorse (Finland); introgression since 1960 from Finnhorse (Finland), Arabian Horse breed from Russia.
The Estonian Native is one of the few breeds which has retained the characteristic features of the native northern horse and were not significantly influenced by crossing with other breeds. It played an important role in the formation of the Obva (now extinct) and Vyatka breeds. The breed has also been used with the Hackney in the formation of the Tori breed and with Ardennes in forming the Estonian Draft.
USESDue to its inexpensive price and low maintenance, Estonian Native breed is a suitable simple domestic horse, a companion at a suitable simple farm. Estonian native horses are kept as tourism horses in several tourism farms. On their backs or in their pull-carts, archaic villages, ruins of strongholds and natural sights are visited.
INFLUENCEFinish horse breed, Russian Arabian
Estonian Native Horse description
The Estonian Native Horse, earlier also called klepper, is one of the last survivors of the horse breeds belonging to the Northern forest horse group that used to live in the forest areas of Northern Russia and were the horses of the local Finno-Ugris nations. Others (viatka, petchora, mezeni, obvinka, obi, tavda etc.) have disappeared and the nations that created and were using them are also disappearing. Or they have been developed into more or less cultural breeds (the Finnish horse).
The modern Estonian is not large in size; the head is well proportioned, has a wide forehead and is sometimes somewhat coarse; the neck is on the short side or medium in length and fleshy; the withers are low and wide; the loin is well muscled; the croup is average in length and has a normal slope. The chest is very wide and deep; the legs are short, properly set and distinguished by firmness and cleanness. The hoofs are extremely solid. The animal is undemanding; it has extraordinary endurance and quite good action. The fodder utilization is good. It has a willing disposition.
Analyze showed that the Estonian Native Horse is one of the few breeds, which has retained the characteristic features of the native horse and were not significantly influenced by crossing with other breeds.
Estonian Native Horse history
The first written sources by the well-known traveller Adam von Bremen from the 11th century and the chronicles by Latvian Hendrik from the 13th century confirm, that Estonians were rich in gold and they had good horses. The breed has been appreciated by many nations and many stallions and mares were deported to Sweden as military horses and to Russian provinces to improve their local horse breeds.
Discussions have been held on the effect of knight horses (among these Arab Breed) on the Estonian Local Horse breed during the Middle Ages. It is obvious, however, that peasants succeeded to keep their horses apart from foreign “manor culture”.
On the 19th century a measures for development of the breed were put into practice: shows of the breeding horses, drawing and carriage competitions, awarding of the better horses and auctions. In the end of the century several studs were founded: 1856 in Tori on the mainland, 1870 in Uue-Lõve and 1902 in Uue-Mõisa on the island Saaremaa.
After the devastating influence of the World War I, the planned and purposeful pure-breeding of the Estonian Native Horse was started in 1921, when the Estonian Native Horse Breeders Society was founded. During 1921-1937 totally 13 stallions have been used in the breeding of the Estonian Native Horse. This has increased the wither height, white markings and chestnut color of the breed that were mostly bay and without markings.
In the middle on the 19th century a strong horse was required in agriculture. For this purpose from Estonian Native Horse breed a universal Tori breed and Estonian heavy draught breed were developed by the 1920ies. The purebred Estonian Native Horse stayed on the islands and cost of the Western-Estonia thin soils. Such regional placement lasted until the beginning of 1980ies when the breed become a riding horse for children and tourism.
In 1992 re-founded Estonian Horse Breeders Society subsidizes the Estonian Native Horse foals with the help of government, society also organizes annual inspections and experimentation. In 2000 founded Estonian Native Horse Conservation Society, which unites the friends of the breed, organizes group-events, exhibitions and bees, publishes books and newsletters.
Estonian Native Horse fun facts
The number of Estonian Native Horses decreased years ago and the breed has been entered in the Watch list of endangered domestic animals. Presently, the total number of Estonian Native Horses is around 1000, less than half of mares are used for breeding. The genetic diversity is attempted to maintain in breeding, preserving the existent 6 lines.