The Međimurje Horse is an endangered breed of horse that is native to the northernmost region of Croatia known as Međimurje.
These horses are known for their strength, hardiness, and sure-footedness, and they have been used for centuries in agriculture and transportation.
Today, there are estimated to be only about 200 Međimurje Horses remaining in the world.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the history and characteristics of the Međimurje Horse, as well as some of the efforts being made to keep this breed alive.
Međimurje Horse Breed Info
Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Međimurje Horse:
|15.1 – 16.1 hands high
|Most commonly bay, seal brown or black, but other colors are also seen
|Country of Origin
|In tourism for pulling carriages, meat production, logging, in parades and festivals, in some marginal areas it is still used for farm work
Međimurje Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)
The Međimurje breed is a medium-heavy type of draft horse that originated in Međimurje region in the most northern part of Croatia in the 18th century.
As a result of the local counts’ prolonged conflict with the Turks, a substantial number of pure and mixed-breed Arabian horses were brought to the region.
Local mares with Arabian lineage were bred to Noriker stallions in order to create a big working horse.
This led to the development of a lighter breed of horse that was used for pulling trams and transporting cargo over long distances to cities like Vienna and Budapest.
After then, a more robust variety of Međimurje Horse was developed by crossing it with two Belgian breeds: the Flemish and the Brabant (these have since merged to become the Belgian Draft Horse), and it was used in forestry, agriculture and for pulling load.
Within a short amount of time, Međimurje Horses had spread to other regions of Croatia, as well as to other countries like Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria.
Prior to the introduction of mechanization in the middle of the 20th century, they were a well-liked draft breed because of their mix of strength, docility, hardiness, and refinement.
The Međimurje Horse, along with the majority of other types of heavy horses, became obsolete when vehicles and other forms of agricultural machinery became more common.
It almost completely disappeared anywhere other than its native Croatia.
Fortunately, passionate supporters of the breed campaigned for its survival and put regulations into place to protect and promote the Međimurje Horse.
The goal of not only preserving but also revitalizing the breed led to the establishment of a breeders’ organization in 2001 and a stud in 2015.
This highly endangered breed is one of three indigenous horse breeds in Croatia (the others being Croatian Coldblood, and Croatian Posavac).
Recent genetic studies, in which samples of mitochondrial DNA were taken from a sizeable portion of the Međimurje Horse population in both Croatia and Hungary, in addition to samples taken from similar breeds (such as the Posavac horse, the Croatian Coldblood horse, the Noriker horse, and others), revealed that the Međimurje Horse is an indigenous breed whose ancestry is linked to a number of other cold-blooded horse breeds, the majority of which are found in the surrounding area.
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!
Quiet and friendly temperament
The head is relatively small with a wide forehead, and small ears.
The neck is short, very muscular and significantly crested.
The withers are pronounced, and the chest is broad and deep.
The shoulders are strong, and the legs are sturdy with light feathering.
The back is short, and the croup is muscled and rounded.
The hooves are large. Overall, the Međimurje Horse is built for pulling loads.
Most commonly bay, seal brown or black, but other colors are also seen
15.1 – 16.1 hands high
Up to 2,000 lbs (900 kg)
In tourism for pulling carriages, meat production, logging, in parades and festivals, in some marginal areas it is still used for farm work
Country of Origin
Local Croatian mares, Arabian, Noriker, Flemish horse, Brabant