The Yakutian Horse is a rare, cold-adapted horse breed from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia.
In this blog post, we will discuss the history, characteristics, and uses of the Yakutian horse.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about these amazing horses, keep reading!
Yakutian Horse Breed Info
Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Yakutian horse:
|Height (size)||13.6 – 12.9 hands high|
|Colors||Most commonly gray, bay and light dun, even though many more colors are seen. Primitive markings such as a dorsal stripe along the back, and zebra markings on the lower legs are common.|
|Country of Origin||Russia|
|Common Uses||General riding, meat and milk production, their warm coat can be turned into clothes|
Yakutian Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)
Although the Yakut horse’s origins are unknown, experts believe it is likely one of the oldest breeds currently in existence.
The Yakutian, also called the Yakut, is a horse breed that comes from the Siberian Sakha Republic (Yakutia).
It is larger than the otherwise similar Mongolian horse and Przewalski’s horse.
Theories of Origin
The hypothesis that the Yakut horses are not native to Siberia, but rather that they were brought there by the ancestors of the Sakha people is based on the genetic and immunity markers that appear to show similarity with the original breeds of Central Asia (Akhal-Téké, Arab, Kazakh, Kirghiz, and other saddle horses).
Other researchers believe the breed is related to the Mongolian horse, which is equally plausible.
Several researchers, however, think it evolved from the interbreeding of horses brought from the south by Yakutian ancestors with wild white tundra horses that had persisted in the area since the last Ice Age.
History of the Breed
During the 13th century, the army of Genghis Khan drove the Yakut people out of Mongolia and into freezing Siberia where theYakutian people had to depend on their hardy equines for survival.
Because of their hardy, self-reliant horses, the Yakut people were able to thrive in Sakha (also known as Yakutia).
In addition, horses played an essential role in the Yakutian culture’s shamanic practices by serving as a channel for communication with the spirit world.
Even though they were tamed to the point that they could be ridden, led, and milked, their wild spirit was revered.
The Yakuts had many different uses for their horses: they were used for transportation, herding, provided the Yakuts with milk and meat, their hair was used to make rope, and their coats were used to make warm clothes.
Even though today the Yakut people do not need their horses for survival in the same way that they formerly did, and even though the number of horses in the area is on the decline, the Yakut horse is still held in high esteem due to its cultural and spiritual significance, and it is a big part of festivals, and ceremonies.
Adaptations to the Siberian Extreme Climate
These horses were able to adjust to their harsh new environment so well that in just 800 years, physiological changes that ordinarily take millennia to take place had already happened.
The Yakutian horse has been used by researchers as an illustration of how quickly evolution may occur in response to environmental forces.
They have evolved to the point that they are now able to live outside in temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 degrees Celsius), and as high as +100 °F (-70 to +38 °C)!
Also, winters in Siberia may last up to eight months.
Despite such temperature fluctuations, Yakutian horses are kept unstabled year-round, and in the nearly 800 years that they have been in Siberia, they have developed a number of extraordinary morphological, metabolic, and physiological adaptations to survive in this harsh climate.
Yakutian horses, for example, have an exceptionally thick mane and tail, a winter coat of shaggy hair that may grow up to 10 centimeters long, genes with proven anti-freezing properties, a shorter, more compact stature.
They may also prevent frostbite by reducing the volume of blood that flows through their bodies when it is extremely cold.
This is due to increased responsiveness of their genetic networks that control responses to oxidative stress, vasodilation, and blood coagulation are more responsive when it is very cold.
When it comes to their adaptation to the extreme cold, genetically they show indications of convergent evolution with other inhabitants of the Far North like mammoths for example.
Despite these modifications, it is quite possible that the Yakut would not have survived without the assistance of the Sakha people, who gave them a certain amount of food over the winter, particularly to support the young foals born that year.
But apart from that, the Yakut horses fend for themselves in an environment that is mostly unrestricted, like that of wild horses.
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!
Their sturdy build, dense mane and tail, and exceptionally thick, long winter coat help them retain heat more effectively.
They may accumulate up to 35 kilos of excess fat during the brief Siberian summer, enabling them to lose up to 20% of their total weight throughout winter.
They have a highly developed sense of smell in addition to extremely hard and broad hooves, both of which assist them in sniffing out and digging the little fodder that is buried under the snow during the Arctic semi-darkness.
Their metabolism and respiration slow down during the colder months, and as a result, they generate less heat, which assists them in conserving energy.
Also, Yakutian horses are able to endure the intense cold due to antifreeze compounds in their blood.
There are three distinct varieties of Yakutian horse:
- The Northern type, also known as the Middle Kolyma or Verkhoyansk horse, is the purest-bred Yakut. It is usually bay, gray, or light dun in color, and it has primitive markings like a dark stripe on its back and zebra-like stripes on its legs. On average, stallions are 13.6 hands high, and mares are 13.4 hands high. This type is seen as the most valuable.
- The second type is the Smaller Southern type, which is also considered pure but it is regarded as less valuable. The average height of stallions is 13.2 hands high, whereas the average height of mares is 12.9 hands high.
- The third type is the Larger Southern type, which is the result of crossbreeding with other breeds and is common in central Yakutia. Stallions measure 13.8 hands high, while mares measure 13.3 hands.
Most commonly gray, bay and light dun, even though many more colors are seen.
Primitive markings such as a dorsal stripe along the back, and zebra markings on the lower legs are common.
13.6 – 12.9 hands high
13.2 – 13.6 hh
12.9 – 13.4 hh
General riding, meat and milk production, their warm coat can be turned into clothes
Potentially the hardiest breed out there that is known for their incredible adaptations to extremely cold weather
Can thrive on scarce fodder
Country of Origin