Basque Mountain Horse
The Basque Mountain horse is a breed that is developed in the Basque Country in the western Pyrenees, in Navarra. That country spans the border between Spain and France, so the countries of origin are previously mentioned in Spain and France. It is a semi-feral horse, also called Pottok, which means pony by the Basque language because it`s very small.
This breed is native to the Basque Country and their population is very low, so the breed is considered to be nearly extinct. The Basque is considered to be an ancient breed, living in the area for several thousand years. From a genetic point of view, they are similar to the Asturcon, Losino, Landais horses and Galician ponies. There are many theories about its origin, but they aren`t scientifically verified till today.
In some opinions, they descend from the Magdalenian horse and as proof are the cave paintings in the area. Others claim that they are an influx of horses during the Bronze Age. In fact, the breed itself has several genetic differences, so it`s divided into 4 indigenous horse breeds, among them are Basque Mountain horse and Pottok. In 1970 there were approximately 5500 purebred Pottoks in the Basque country, but that number is significantly decreased through habitat loss, mechanization and crossbreeding.
They have been crossed with Iberian and Arabian horses and Welsh ponies. These crossbreeds contributed today`s populations of the Basque breed being with no more than 150 purebred mares north of the Pyrenees. The breeds overall appearance is a small horse with a large head and winter coat. The head is large and square with small, forward-facing ears and lively eyes, set on a short neck with a thick mane to the withers.
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