Though only the size of a pony, standing between 9 and 12.2 hands, the elegant Caspian is nevertheless a horse, not a pony. After much study and research, the Caspian has been proven to have the bone structure of a horse, and experts believe that they are the forerunners of the Arabian, and thus all hot-blooded horses in existence today.
Fast and agile, the exquisite horse is an excellent small child’s mount, and positively shines as a cart horse. Crossed with Thoroughbreds or Arabians, they retain all the characteristics of the breed with the height that makes them suitable for older riders.
But did you know this?
- This ancient breed is documented in paintings as far back as 3,000 B.C. King Darius the Great, in 500 B.C., honored the Caspian by portraying him on his royal seal and in stone in his palace in Persepolis. He was enamoured with the little horse with the big speed and used them to pull him when he went hunting.
- The first Caspian to leave Iran was imported to the United States in 1966 by Kathleen McCormick. His name was Jehan, a liver chestnut stallion.
- Ancient Persian archaeological remains have been instrumental in identifying the Caspian, and along with blood type, bone structure, and genetic testing the little horse was determined to be the forerunner of Persia’s native wild horses.
- Caspians adapt to equestrian sports extremely easily and are proficient in racing, jumping, hunting and driving. They are narrower than most pony breeds and therefore make comfortable children’s mounts.
- They are found in grey, bay, black, and chestnut, with or without white markings on their heads and legs.
- Caspian horse have ideal temperaments, being calm, kind and tractable.
- Stallions are docile enough to be ridden in company with mares and are often driven in tandem with another stallion. Even children can handle them.
- Eight Caspian horses—four mares and four stallions—were vision tested to see if they could discern colors, and they could! (So can other breeds.)
- The Caspian horse was presumed extinct for over a thousand years until rediscovered by the American Louise Firoux in the mid-sixties along the shores of the Caspian Sea. In 2005, there were 504 registered Caspian horses in America.
- A true miniature horse, the Caspian has the hemoglobin particular to horses and not in evidence in ponies.
If you’re looking for a perfect pony-sized mount for your child in the hunter ring, look no further than the Caspian. With the elegance and endurance of an Arabian and the agility and athletic prowess of the Thoroughbred, it is a competitor that’s hard to beat!
Article by Susannah Wollman, who spent most of her life astride horses. She began riding as a young child and tried to learn all she could about horses. Because it was difficult to find someone to teach her, she determined that when she grew up, she’d teach any kids who wanted to know as much about horses as they wanted to learn. Susannah became a 4H leader and a United States Pony Club District Commissioner to fulfill that promise and taught children to ride and care for horses for many years. Because of health issues, she can no longer ride, but continues to teach through her writing.
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