The Rare Breed World Tour

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The world is full of rare and beautiful equines. From far-flung corners of the globe come some of the most fascinating breeds, with distinctive features and colorful histories. Expand your horizons and discover four of these unique horses. Reflecting the sands of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan is the Akhal-Teke, with its shimmering coat. Hailing from India is the regal Marwari, recognizable by its gracefully curved ears. A spotted coat characterizes Denmark’s talented Knabstrupper, and the Mangalarga Marchador is Brazil’s smooth-gaited beauty.

Akhal-Teke

Akhal-Teke

By some accounts, the Akhal-Teke dates back 3,000 years, when these brave and exceedingly hardy horses were used by raiding parties traveling through the harsh steppes of central Asia in what is Turkmenistan today. While prized for their beauty—especially the brilliant coat that seems to be lit from within—it is the breed’s stamina, endurance, speed and loyalty that were even more cherished, for these qualities were crucial to the survival of both horse and human in the Karakum desert environment they called home.
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Marwari

Marwari

Named for the Marwar (now Jodhpur) region of northwest India, the Marwari horse as we know it today is the outcrossing of Akhal-Teke, Nisean (an extinct breed once native to Iran), and imported breeds from Arabia that came into India during wars and occupations from the northwest frontiers since the 4th century. Some breed historians consider the Marwari to be the archetype of the existing dilution of the 180 strains of indigenous Indian horses that were recorded during the 1820 census.
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Knabstrupper

Knabstrupper

When Major Villars Lunn bought a chestnut mare with a white blanket coat pattern from Mr. Flaeb, the local butcher, he likely had no idea he was about to create the beloved spotted horse of Denmark.
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Mangalarga Marchador

Mangalarga Marchador

Recognized as the national horse of Brazil, the Mangalarga Marchador got its name from the farm where the horses were first bred.
When Napoleon began invading Portugal in 1807 as part of the Peninsular War, Prince Regent John VI of Portugal commanded much of his fleet to carry anything of value to the safe haven of Brazil. Along with the thousands of people and possessions aboard the nearly 50 ships were many of the Lusitano horses of the Alter Real State Stud Farm.

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KARA L. STEWART is a freelance writer and horse owner based in Colorado.


This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. That spotted horse is so georgeous!! I wonder if anyone ever had to count how many spots were on its body. 🙂 Thank You for letting us know of these other breeds, a few of them I did not hear of before this.

  2. You forgot the Abaco Barb. There is only one left and they are about to harvest her eggs to try and repopulate the world with her colony which were once wild horses in the abaco islands. Look them up on Facebook : Wild Horses of Abaco

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