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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Horse of the horde

Here is another tiny war horse. It seems like if the world called you a ‘Hoard’ you ride around on small little things. 

The Mongol horse is small and stocky it isn’t as fast as some other horses but is extremely hearty and sure footed. The horse stands 12 to 14 hands high (48 to 56 inches) Warriors often rode lactating mares because the milk is a food source. Like the Icelandic this breed moves with a high head. The Mongol may be the oldest of all the breeds and has the highest genetic diversity of all domestic horses.

These horses are still ‘free breeding’, basically the horses live in herds and choose who they breed with. People say that if you need a horse from the herd they just pull one out of the herd and tack it up and ride it - I don’t know if that is true or not. This breed was the basis for the Scandinavian breeds and they went on to influence… well I have a post about that. 

The Mongolian is a Landrace. A Landrace is a type of animal that develops in an area and is evolved to fit the environment it lives in. They can be formalized into a breed, like the Icelandic, or they can be informal. The Mongolian, the Mustang, and the Exeter are all examples as informal landrace, although I know that there are registries for Mustangs and Exeters. When a Landrace gets formalized as a breed they lose a lot of genetic diversity. That is what happens when we humans control things.

The Mongolian may be the most important breed of all time because of the breeds that sprung from it, as well as the whole hoard thing.

Funny thing about the Mongolian and the Icelandic, if you read the saga of the Burgundians (you know it from the Wagner operas and the Ride of the Valkyrie) the daughter of one of the Nordic kings married Attila the Hun. Now we know, genetically, those horses are related so you never know.

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