Hequ Horse

Hequ is one of the most popular horse breeds in China.

If you’re interested in learning more about these fascinating animals, keep reading!

Hequ Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Hequ horse:

Height (size) 12.3 – 14.3 hands high
Colors Black, brown or gray
Country of Origin China
Common Uses Riding, racing, drafting work, meat production

Hequ Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

Hequ are the biggest of China’s native horses.

Their name means ‘river bend’, because the breed originated on the borders of Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu provinces, where the Yellow River forms a big bend.

However, before 1954, this breed was known as the Nanfan horse.

These horses have a history that goes back at least to the T’ang dynasty in the 7th century, when they were noted as a resource that was often looted in battle.

The feudal king of Chin set up a ranch in order to breed mounts for his cavalry, bringing in various different horses from western Asia, such as the Ferghana, and the Mongolian horse, to breed with indigenous Tibetan horses.

In the 19th century, this breed was moved to the northern part of the province, where the Datong horse was used to improve its characteristics.

Three types exist:

Jiaoke type – the heaviest of the three, and more common in Southern Gansu province.

Suoke type – they are characterized by larger heads and ears, and are prevalent in the western Sichuan province.

Kesheng type – they have a stronger Mongolian influence and are found mostly in the Kesheng Autonomous Region.

The Hequ was formerly widely used, but its numbers have been in decline since the late 20th century due to the rise of more efficient modes of transportation, and also the local government policy that supports the raising of sheep and yak instead of horses.

However, still today, these horses are among the most common in China.

Hequ Horse is often mistaken for the Tibetan pony.

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

Alternative Names

“Nanfan horse”



Physical Characteristics

The profile is straight and the head is medium in length.

The ears are long, and the nostrils are wide.

The muzzle is small.

The neck is somewhat short and well set on the sloping shoulders. The chest is deep and broad.

The back is long, and the croup is moderately sloped.

They are able to thrive in high altitudes characterized by cold and low oxygen levels of the Tibetan plateau at elevations of 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) because they have exceptional physiological adaptations, which are the result of tough natural selection.


Black, brown or gray

Height (size)

12.3 – 14.3 hands high






730 – 880 lbs (330 – 400 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Riding, racing, drafting work, meat production



Popular Traits

Very versatile


Easy keepers

Country of Origin



Tibetan Pony, Ferghana, Mongolian horse