For thousands of years horses have been domesticated and since ancient times, people have kept horses for riding and agricultural, transportation purposes.
Throughout this time, some of the most extraordinary breeds have been influenced - and with over 350 different horse breeds in the equine world, we take a look at some of the rarest breeds in our top 10 list at Animalife.
Top 10 Rare Horse Breeds
The Akhal-Teke horse breed was voted the most beautiful horse in 2013, and with their beautifully, natural metallic coat it’s easy to see why. Their incredible coat is something unique to this rare horse breed and the metallic sheen is due to the thin hair structure that acts like a fiber optic tube – bending light through the side of the hair and refracting through the other side.
This rare breed of horse originated in Turkmenistan, and with characteristics of high endurance and athleticism, the Akhal-Teke makes the ideal horse for dressage, endurance races and jumping.
A direct descendant from the ancient Tarpan horse breed and with a name that translates to ‘little horse,’ the Konik horse is quiet and durable both in the saddle and the field.
In the nineteenth century, Polish farmers captured the last Tarpan horses and crossed them with their own workhorses naming them the Konik. This rare horse breed is known to be strong, hard working and manageable - to look at they have a broad body and a large head. What’s more fascinating about this stunning breed is their capability to help restore health to marshy woodland as their grazing habits provide an enriched habitat for wildlife and bird species.
Known for its distinctive looking ears that are inward curving, the Marwari horse breed has been around since the 12thcentury from the Marwar region of India.
This rare and beautiful horse breed was mainly used as a cavalry horse throughout its history, displaying its loyalty and bravery – but today it’s used predominantly for riding and agricultural work.
The Marwari rare horse breed is found in virtually every equine color, with pinto and sorrel most popular amongst buyers and breeders.
Amongst the most unique, miniature horses in the world is the Falabella. These tiny horses are rarely taller than 78cm/32 inches and are most unusual in size.
The Falabella originated in Argentina and are known to be strong and sturdy thanks to the characteristics of Welsh pony, Criollo and Shetland pony added to their mixed breed. They have a gentle, inquisitive and intelligent personality meaning they can be trained well and quickly; they also can live up to 40-45 years old.
The Camargue wild horse from Southern France has existed since pre-historic times making it one of the oldest living breed of horses in the world. Even though they are semi-feral, this rare horse breed has lived amongst humans for thousands of years.
Their roaming on the salty marshes of the Camargue wetlands has led to advances in their broad hooves, allowing them to tread much better in the mud, water and grasses of the marshy area they inhabit.
From the mountainous regions of western Norway is the Norweigan Fjord horse, one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. This two-toned horse breed is closely related to the European wild horse, the Tarpan, and is most notable for it’s dun colouration and contrasting mane.
On average, Fjords stand 13.2 to 14.2 hands high and weigh 900 to 1200 pounds. This beautiful rare horse breed has durable strength, similar to that of a draft horse, but it’s smaller in size and more agile.
German Black Forest Horse
Also known as the Schwarzwälder Kaltblut, this stunning horse breed is exclusively bred in the Black Forest in southern Germany dating back 600 years.
This rare horse breed was bred for working on the farmlands and in the forests , adapting to their surroundings with strong legs and big hooves. They are known for their strength, reliability and gentle, sweet nature; they are the perfect all around horse.
Bashkir Curly Horse
This rare horse breed with an unknown origin, dating back to 1898, comes in all sizes, colors, and body types but all carry a gene for a unique curly coat of hair. The Bashkir Curly transmits the curly characteristic to its offspring about fifty percent of the time, even when mating with horses without the curly trait. Physically, they are of medium size with tough, black hooves and they can survive severe winter conditions.
This rare horse breed, also known as takhi (meaning “spirit”), is amongst the last surviving subspecies of wild horse in the world. The Mongolian Przewalski breed that once roamed freely is now never to be seen again in the wild. Instead, this stunning horse is kept and bred in captivity, with the Zoological Society of London working with teams of Mongolian researchers to conserve the species.
The Welara Pony is a cross between the Welsh pony and Arabian horse, and was established in 1981. This rare cross breeding produced an unusual yet beautiful horse breed with great intelligence and fine temperament. Welara ponies can range in size from 11.2 – 15 hands and are very versatile, often being used for riding, hunting classes and competitive trail riding.
Which is your favourite breed of horse? Let us know in the comments.