Estonian Native

The Estonian Native is a rare breed of horse that is indigenous to Estonia.

They are known for their friendly temperament and excellent health.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about this rare and interesting breed.

Estonian Native Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Estonian Native:

Height (size) 13.1 – 14.3 hands high
Colors Their coat is said to have a hundred different color variations, however the most common are black, bay, chestnut, gray and dun
Country of Origin Estonia
Common Uses General riding, harness, equestrian tourism, popular choice for children and riding schools, sport

Estonian Native Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

According to archeological evidence, wild horses existed in what is now Estonia between 10,000 and 9000 B.C., but they became extinct and had no impact on the domestication of horses.

Instead, domesticated horses from other places were brought to Estonia by people migrating from the East about 3000 B.C, during the Late Iron Age/Early Bronze Age.

The origins of the Estonian Native go back thousands of years, but are mostly unknown.

The Estonian Native horse is rare because it is one of the few breeds that has not been considerably altered by crossing with other breeds and has therefore maintained the unique characteristics of the native northern horse.

As agriculture progressed and the need for working horses increased, local horses were mixed with bigger breeds while at the same time maintaining the pure breeding as well.

Reliable information on the improvement phases of the Estonian Native may be traced back to the establishment of the Tori stud in 1856.

The stud was dedicated to the preservation of local horse breeds via selective breeding and they also crossed them with lighter harness (Hackney) and saddle horses.

The most promising mares of these crosses was chosen as foundation stock for the Tori breed.

They were crossed with the Ardennes to create the Estonian Draft horse.

The Estonian Native was also a significant contributor to the development of the Vyatka breed as well as the Obva breed, which has since become extinct.

However, as many other breeds, the Estonian Native was not able to keep up with the motorization and development of the new era, and today the breed can only be found on the islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu.

In recent years, the small amount of the breeding stock has led to considerable inbreeding.

There is no evidence of inbreeding depression in terms of performance, stature, or appearance, but it does take longer for closely related individuals to mature.

Today around 1,000 of them are left, but this number is steadily on the rise.

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

Alternative Names

“Estonian Klepper”

Temperament/Personality

Energetic, yet gentle

Physical Characteristics

The head is well-proportioned, straight and with a big forehead.

The ears are short.

The muscular neck has a dense crest.

The withers are low, and the chest is deep and broad. The back is straight and wide.

The croup is rounded with a tail that is set low. Legs are short with clean and strong joints.

The hooves are well-shaped. It is a hardy and sound breed.

The Estonian Native is a long lived breed with records of horses reaching well into their 30ies – a mare named Tenki born in 1946 was still alive in 1983 at S├Árve state farm in Kingisepp region.

Colors

Their coat is said to have a hundred different color variations, however the most common are black, bay, chestnut, gray and dun

Height (size)

13.1 – 14.3 hands high

Stallions

Average 950 lbs (430 kg)

Mares

n/a

Weight

n/a

Blood Type

n/a

Common Uses

General riding, harness, equestrian tourism, popular choice for children and riding schools, sport

Health

Strong and resistant to disease

Popular Traits

Well-adapted to the cold northern climate, some are gaited exhibiting lateral gait

Feeding/Diet

Can survive on scarce food

Country of Origin

Estonia

Ancestors

Wild forest horse, Finnhorse