The Caspian Horse is a small breed of horse native to Northern Iran. Though it is often called a horse, it shares many similarities with horses in terms of gaits and conformation. In fact, it is a forerunner to all forms of the Arabian horse. Here’s a look at the Caspian horse’s history and current status. And while it is not a breed as common as some may think, it is a very adaptable, intelligent, and bright animal.
Caspian horses are bright, alert, and adaptable
The Caspian horse is the ancestor of all Oriental breeds. The Caspian horse predates the Arabian horse by at least a thousand years, and it is the sole surviving member of Type IV Horse. They are usually about eleven to twelve hands tall, and their colors are primarily solid. Caspian horses are generally intelligent, bright, and adaptable, making them excellent pets and excellent riders. Although there is no set breed standard, there are three distinct types.
They are a forerunner to all forms of the Arabian horse
Whether the Caspian Horse is a forerunner to all forms of Arabian horsedom is still a matter of debate. Some believe it to be the forerunner to the native wild horse of Persia. Others believe it is the precursor of all forms of the Arabian horse. The first documented evidence of a horse evolved in the Third Millennium BC in Mesopotamia.
The Caspian horse has a long, graceful neck with a slight arch. Its mane and tail are made of soft, silky hair. The Caspian horse’s nose and cranium are concave, with a slight bulge between them and the nasal bones. This is called a jibbah. The Caspian horse’s cranium is vaulted, and dips at the front bone and continues straight through the nasal bone area. This gives it a slight concave appearance, and it is the most common breed in the world.
The Caspian Horse was important to ancient Persian culture. The seal of King Darius the Great featured the Caspian Horse on it, and the horses were often offered as treasures. These horses were also used in royal ceremonies and decorated ancient palaces. In the 1960s, a breeder named Louise Firouz discovered a Caspian horse breed in the mountains of Iran. Louise Firouz began a breeding crusade and eventually exported the core of her stock to Europe.
As the oldest horse breeds, the Caspian Horses are an ancient precursor to all forms of the Arabian horse. They resemble the primeval horse and roamed as far west as North Africa, where there was abundant vegetation and rainfall. The Caspian horse was named for the area of discovery at the Caspian Sea. A lady from America discovered the Caspian horses in Iran decades ago and dedicated her life to studying them. Sculptures and prehistoric cave paintings in North Africa and Asia Minor depict Caspian horses.
They are resilient to the Iranian-Iraq War
The Caspian Horse has survived the Iranian-Iraq War and other political uphearts by surviving to breed again in Europe. Firouz is credited with saving the breed from starvation, slaughter, and disease. With a growing interest in the breed, she has started a new breeding program in 1999. The Caspian Horse breed in Europe is considered a rare breed due to its affinity with royalty and resiliency to war.
During the Iranian-Iraq War, the Caspian Horse found refuge in the Elburz Mountains in southern Iran, where they maintained their pure nature. The locals raised these horses as workhorses and referred to them as Mouleki and Pouseki. These horses are now protected as a Critical Rare Breed by the Livestock Conservancy, which aims to protect heritage breeds and genetic diversity in livestock.
While the political upheavals in Iran have made the Caspian difficult to keep, Firouz and her family remain in the country and continue to work for the survival of rare breeds in Iran. Although Narcy died in 1994, his wife, Louise Firouz, continued to work for the sake of the Caspian Horse in Iran. In 2008, Firouz’s wife, Louise Firouz, was honored as a Turkmen elder, a first for women in the country.
Nancy Firouz, the last Sasanid king, died in 637 AD. The Arab invasion broke with Persian Zoroastrian traditions. No longer did the Persians have royal investiture ceremonies. Instead, their authority came from the Caliph. In the end, the Caspian horse was a rare breed that was resilient to the Iranian-Iraq War.
They are a breed near extinction
The Caspian horse was once thought to be extinct, but the efforts of an American woman who bred Iranian horses resurrected the breed and brought them to the United States. Louise Firouz, a breeder in Iran, discovered the breed in the Elburz Mountains, above the Caspian Sea. She decided to breed them and create a breeding program to keep the breed alive.
Firouz exported several dozen horses to Europe between 1971 and 1976, originating from 26 different bloodlines. He also imported eight horses to Britain, but was eventually ordered by the Iranian royal society to hand them all over and ban the export of Caspian horses. In 1977, Firouz was forced to give up the Caspian horses in order to keep them from being destroyed by the regime. His efforts were successful, but in the following years, the Iranian government banned the export of Caspian horses and rehabilitated the Caspians. As a result, many Caspian horses became meat and beast of burden.
The Caspian horse was almost extinct in the late 1800s because of shipping. According to Firouz, a survey in the Elburz Mountains found that about fifty horses with definite Caspian characteristics lived in the region. The rest were scattered throughout a 2,000-square-mile triangle and had little chance of being classified as pure Caspians. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s recent study, “Caspian Horses Are a Breed Near Extinction,” revealed.
Despite its small stature, the Caspian horse is known for its affectionate and loyal disposition. Children are often allowed to handle the stallions. Their genetics are similar to those of horses that live in the United States. Caspian horses are generally between ten and twelve hands high, with large eyes, tiny ears, and a low, vaulted forehead. They also have long and graceful necks, strong withers, and high croup.
They are being rediscovered
The Caspian Horse, once thought extinct, are being rediscovered. This rare breed was discovered in Iran in 1965 by an American woman named Louise Firouz. Louise had married an Iranian aristocrat and was determined to introduce horses to her children, so she went in search of small horses in the area. She was impressed by the small horses, which possessed many characteristics of a miniature Arabian.
Although it had long been thought that the Caspian had become extinct, its rediscovery suggests that the Caspian is actually one of the ancestors of the Persian and Oriental breeds. Archaeozoologists and conservationists are currently studying the Caspian’s antiquity and describing its relationship to other horse breeds. Some researchers even believe that the Caspian is one of the genetic foundations of modern horse breeds.
The discovery of the Caspian Horse inspired further archaeological research, which led to convincing proof that the Caspian horse was the foundation of the hotblood breed we know today. The Caspian Horse’s breeding history goes back thousands of years to ancient Iran, which was home to the earliest human migrations. The horse’s breeding culture was favored in Iran, which has abundant water and lush pastures. The discovery of the Caspian Horse in 1965 gave Louise Firouz and her husband the opportunity to discover an ancient horse breed. She bought seven mares and six stallions for foundation stock.
The Caspian Horse’s history has inspired the rebirth of its popularity in the West, and now is the best time to support it. As a result, the Caspian Horse is being rediscovered by far more people than ever before. With so many supporters, it’s not surprising that the breed is experiencing a resurgence. So, get your wallet ready and buy a calendar, or two!