The Caspian Horse

Rare Horse Breeds: The Caspian Horse

Rare Horse Breeds: The Caspian Horse

The Caspian horse is one of the oldest horse breeds and the only foundation of the modern horse that still exists today. This beautiful horse is woven throughout history and tells an amazing story of royalty, evolution, and survival. Learn all about the Caspian horse in this addition of Rare Horse Breeds.

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The Caspian “Horse” not the Caspian “Pony”

This little horse is small yet mighty. Though only standing around 9 to 11 hands (100 cm / 3 ft), the Caspian is classified as a “horse” instead of a “pony.” This is because they share more physical traits with horse breeds rather than pony breeds. The Caspian has a large head, sloping shoulders, straight back, and a high set tail. They have long gaits and are surprisingly good jumpers.

Caspian Horse Stallion
“Bytham Justin Time” – Photo copyright Bathley Hill Farm

5000 Years Of History

The Caspian holds the title of being one of the oldest horse breeds still recognized today. New zooarchaeology evidence shows that these horses date back to at least 3000 B.C.E. During it’s 5000 years of history, this horse served many roles. From a royal treasure to a peasants’ cart horse, they have been a source of national pride for those who’ve owned them.

the Caspian horse in art history

The “Lost” Breed

The Caspian Horse may be one of the longest surviving horse breeds, but there was a time when the breed was thought to have gone extinct. The horse was found mainly in the Persian Empire (now modern day Iran). When the Persian Empire collapsed in 644 A.C.E it was believed that their royal horse was gone with the empire. It wasn’t until over a millennium later that this small horse was discovered again. Somehow the Caspian survived as a small herd of wild horses near the Caspian Sea in Iran. In 1965, a woman named Louise Firouz discovered this herd. Through intense care and research Firouz was able to prove their legacy and rebuild the foundation stock of this ancient breed.

Louise Firouz with horse
Louise Firouz strokes one of her horses in the village of Ghara Tepe Sheikh. Photo Copyright REUTERS/Caren Firouz (IRAN)

The Caspian horse is a relatively new discovery and their population is still extremely small. Despite being around for thousands of years, there is still a lot we do not know about them. Have you heard of the Caspian horse before? Have you met one? Comment on this post to share your knowledge of this beautiful breed!

Want to learn more about the Caspian horse and other rare breeds?

Check out other additions of Equine Overload’s “Rare Horse Breeds” series and check out my recommended reads list below!

The Complete Book of Horses by Lorenz Books

This is my go-to book for learning about horse breeds. It is packed with information and has over 1500 photographs. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a convenient reference book.

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