The Caspian horse is a purebred ancient breed that is developed thousands of years ago. Its country of origin is Iran and there it is also known as Mouleki or Pouseki which means little muzzle. It is considered to be one of the oldest horse breeds and the most direct ancestor of the Oriental breeds, which includes the Arabian and Thoroughbred horse. There are evidences that they existed during the Persian Empire in the first millennium B.C. The period was described as The First Great Road Empire and Persian couriers as the waster travelers in the world. Persians bred horses for transport, especially for their strength and speed. Toy of small horses with chariot and a votive offering were found in the Oxus Treasure that resembles to the Caspian horse. There are also evidence of this horse between Baghdad and Tehran. In Hamadan were found skeletons with same bone structure as the Caspianís, but their virtual history disappears when libraries and monuments were destroyed in the great Mongol and Islamic conquest.
Until 1965 it was thought that the breed is extinct for over 1000 years, when it was rediscovered by Louise Firouz. She was born in America but lived in Iran and dedicated her life as a breeder for the Iranian horses. Once, when she was researching for ponies in a small town on the coast of the Caspian Sea- Amol, she spotted a bay stallion. Not a pony, but a small well bred oriental horse and from then, when she purchased the horse and named him Ostad, started a new history of a valuable breed. The Iranian studbook was opened in 1966 and a Royal Horse Society was established in 1973. Horses of the breed were spread to UK, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Today Breed Societies are associated to the International Caspian Stud Book.
Because of their ancient bloodlines, they have few distinctive features that sets them apart from other horse breeds: the head is wider than in other breeds; the shoulder bone is wider; the forelimb bones are longer and slimmer compared to the horseís height; the bony structure that is protecting the brain (skull) has pronounced elevation of the inter- parietal bones and possess no parietal crest; the hooves are narrow and oval shaped and usually donít need to be shod; they possess and extra tooth on each side where a wolf tooth would normally be; etc.
The Caspian horse has a slightly concave, short head with vaulted forehead; almond-shaped, large and dark eyes; large, low-set nostrils; short, turned in ears, small, fine muzzle; and fine, thin skin. The neck is prominent, slim and gracefully arched. Shoulders are long and sloped; withers are pronounced; body is slim with deep girth; back is straight; hindquarters are powerful, well defined and proportioned; legs are slim but strong with no feathering on the fetlocks; and the tail is set high. The hooves are oval shaped and extremely strong, which means that these horses are rarely shod, regardless to the extreme conditions, only when are constantly working on very hard and sound ground. The main and tail are long, silky and luxurious.
Its average height is between 10-12 hands. Although pony-sized, their confirmation, gaits and temperament are like that of a small horse, rather than a pony.
The coat of the Caspian horse is silky and shiny in the summer and the colors can vary from bay, gray, chestnut, but black and buckskin are less common. Some can have markings on their head or legs. Gray can go through changes before their maturity, from shades of roan to white over time.
The Caspian horse is used as show horses, cart ponies, for pleasure riding, especially for tall children, dressage, harness racing, show jumping and eventing. Their natural jumping ability and extreme athleticism are due to a great length from the hip to the hock. Their gaits are long, deer-like and occasionally ambling. Crossbreeding with Thoroughbred, Arabian horses and Welsh Pony are resulting with great sport mounts, so there are efforts to produce an ideal Sport Pony.
Meet a challenging horse puzzle of a breed that has a fine build of the Thoroughbred and the beauty and stamina of the Arabian. Energetic and brave, but kind, intelligent and versatile with quiet temperament. This is an extremely rare breed, but not endangered anymore. Use your mouse to place the pieces of the jigsaw in their right position and have fun!