Bashkir Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
Bred for centuries by the Bashkiri people, the Russian Bashkir horse derives from the steppe horse of western Asia and is related to horses of other nations of Turkish origins.
The Bashkir people moved to the Bashkiria area (the mountainous and steppe area near the Volga and Urals of Russia) in the 7th and 8th centuries and their horse breeding was well developed prior to the appearance of Mongols in the area. The Bashkir horse (Bashkirskaya) cannot be included in the Mongolian group of horses or breeds.
The Bashkiris a wide bodied, deep-chested, small horse with a short, heavy heck and large head. The legs are also short. The back is broad and the withers low, with a rounded croup. Colors are: chestnut, bay, roan, mouse gray and dun, with the later having a dorsal stripe and zebra stripes on the legs. The main and tail is thick.
The Bashkir horse bred in the mountain areas is small and massive a draft type, but also can be used under saddle. Bashkirs bred in the steppe area are taller and lighter of body, and used under saddle or in harness.
The climate of Bashkiria is severe and winters bring hard fronts, much snow and huge storms. The ground is snow-covered from November to the end of April, and Spring comes late. Summers are short but hot. The Bashkir horse has a high tolerance for work in all weather, and is remarkably healthy, being a product of its environment.
ENDURANCE AND USE
Versatile and useful, the Bashkir horse has been used as a draft and riding horse, for meat and widely for milk production. Koumiss, made from mare’s milk is a health product throughout Russia, and historically helped to support the native people. The hair of this horse’s thick coat can be woven into cloth for clothing.
Useful in the army in 1789, stud farms were established by the mid-1800’s and after the Revolution stud farms were established in Bashkiria. Useful again in 1812, soldiers riding the Bashkir horses traveled to France to repulse Napoleon, then turned around and successfully traveled back to Moscow.
Bashkir troikas were also famous, traveling up to 75 to 90 miles a day in between feedings. Pacers among the Bashkir horses were especially prized for their speed and endurance.
The Bashkir is bred pure and also crossed with other Russian breeds like the Don and the trotters, and the Russian Heavy Draft horses. Crosses with the Thoroughbred were unsuited to the climate and halted.
The Russian Bashkir horse was traditionally bred year round in taboons and the Don-Bashkir cross is also well adapted to taboon raising.
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