Basotho Pony

Basotho are a rare breed of ponies that are found in Lesotho, Africa.

They have been listed as an endangered species, but there are efforts underway to protect them and help them thrive again.

If you’re interested in these interesting animals, here is everything you need to know about the Basotho Pony.

Basotho Pony Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Basotho Pony:

Height (size) Average 14.2 hands high
Colors Gray, brown, chestnut, black or bay; may have white markings
Country of Origin Lesotho
Common Uses Hacking, trekking, polo, transport, racing

Basotho Pony Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

Lesotho in Africa, is home to the Basotho pony – a kind of pony that is indigenous to the region.

Its roots may be traced back to the 1652 arrival of horses brought over by Dutch immigrants.

The first horses to come to Lesotho in the 1820s were probably taken from the Zulu.

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company brought horses to the Cape for the first time.

They were Java horses with a significant amount of Persian and Arab blood in their lineage.

Basotho pony is descended from those Java-bred Cape Horses of South Africa, which arrived in the Cape in the mid 17th century.

It is unknown whether the influence of strong Persian and Arabian strains was introduced to the animals before they were brought to Africa or whether it was done so afterward to improve the bloodlines.

However, they do show strong influence of these two breeds.

Captured from the Zulu and subsequently the Boers, the first horses arrived in Lesotho in 1825.

Further down the line, this horse has been developed through natural selection.

Around the turn of the century and throughout the Anglo-Boer War, which took place between 1899 and 1902, the breed’s quality reached its peak.

A harsh environment, combined with a high altitude and challenging topography, has resulted in the evolution of a little horse that is exceptionally resilient and resourceful.

A number of factors, including the sale of up to 30,000 of the best stock, particularly stallions, to both sides during the Anglo-Boer War, are generally blamed for the breed’s rapid decline in the twentieth century.

As a result of the stallions being castrated after being sold to the army during the war, Lesotho’s finest stock was depleted by 1906.

A combination of poor management and the 1902 blizzard reduced the number and quality of Basotho Ponies even more, hastening their decline in appearance and performance.

The Basotho Pony was known to Europeans by the late 19th century as a breed or type.

Because of their endurance and low-maintenance care, they were also sent to the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe for service as war horses.

As demand for horses decreased in the 20th century, the breed was on the verge of extinction in the 1950s.

Steps were taken to save the breed and so the Basotho Pony Project, which was sponsored by the Irish Government, was founded as a rigorous breeding program in 1973.

The National Stud was created in 1978 as a result of a cooperative effort between the governments of Lesotho and Ireland.

These initiatives have been a success, since the breed is still around and not in danger of extinction.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Amiable, intelligent, friendly, docile

Physical Characteristics

They are compact, sturdy and surefooted.

Even though its stature is small, because it possesses horse-like characteristics, such as an exceptionally long stride, the Basuto is classified as a horse rather than a pony.

Head is medium sized with a heavy jaw and straight profile.

The neck is long and slender, and the back is long and straight.

They have very tough legs and sound, very hard hooves.


Gray, brown, chestnut, black or bay; may have white markings

Height (size)

Average 14.2 hands high






About 550 lb (250 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Hacking, trekking, polo, transport, racing


No known health problems

Popular Traits

They are incredibly hardy and can endure extremes of temperatures


They can live on variable quality grazing

Country of Origin



Java horse, Cape Horse, Connemara