Horses have played a big part in human lives for centuries and humans have not only developed relationships with horses but have also been inspired by them. Horses are well known to form a bond with humans, and from art like these bronze horse sculptures https://www.gillparker.com/horses-limited-edition-bronze-sculptures-to-buy to horses that are used as therapy for people struggling with certain illnesses, there is a lot to our relationship with horses even in the modern world.
There are hundreds of breeds of horses in the world, some came about naturally, and others are the result of human intervention, breeding horses that have specific traits and can be used for specific purposes, such as the shire horses for example that have the size and the strength to pull heavy machinery on farms in the age before tractors and combine harvesters.
Here are some of the rarest horse breeds in the world….
Flabella Horse – When the Spanish went to South America, they took some horses with them. The horses were then left on the plains of Argentina and had to adapt to this new environment. Over the years, they naturally evolved to deal with this and became smaller. A horse enthusiast, Patrick Newtall started to collect and breed these when he discovered them in 1840, handing the work down to his son in law Juan Falabella when he passed away, hence the horse’s name. As well as being small, they are also incredibly hardy, as well as friendly and adaptable.
Caspian Horse – This breed is believed to be one of the oldest in the world, with evidence of them dating back as far as 3000 BC! The breed is thought to have originated in Iran and were often owned by the kings and noble people of the region.
Throughout the 6th Century, war in the region saw the numbers of these horse’s plummet and for over a millennia they were believed to be extinct – until 1965. Louise Firouz an American horse breeder came across some of these horses whilst near the Caspian Sea and set up a breeding programme across many countries.
Although they are not extinct, they are still a rare breed with numbers fewer than 1000 worldwide. They are loyal and friendly horses who are particularly good with children.
Norwegian Fjord Horse – If you thought the Caspian horse had a long history, the Norwegian Fjord horse is thought to go back even further, being depicted on cave paintings going back 30 000 years! These robust horses who were able to cope with the extreme conditions of Northern Europe were popular war horses of the Vikings and their calmness and intelligence make them outstanding horses to own and work with.
Their colouring sets them apart from other horses, notably the mane which is black but contrasting with the white outer hair.