Yakut horses - inhabitants of the harsh tundra


Only with one look at this little shaggy horse, you understand that they only dream of a warm stable and juicy hay. Their home is harsh tundra, and instead of tasty oats and carrots - frozen grass, which still needs to get out from under the snow. As you already understood, the Yakut horse became the object of our attention. These hardy and very hardworking animals are no strangers to frosty winters and scanty feeds. However, over the centuries they faithfully serve man and help him survive in a harsh climate.

Breed overview

The Yakut horse, according to modern scientific research, is one of the oldest local aboriginal breeds in the world. But she gained her fame thanks to her unique ability to survive in the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic. These little unsightly horses live in small groups in the open air all year round. The current territory of their habitat is the Republic of Sakha or Yakutia, as well as the forest-tundra zone far beyond the Arctic Circle. As locals say, their racers are not afraid of frosts even at -70 degrees.

However, for many reasons, the Yakut horse was forgotten for a long time, and the breed was on the verge of extinction. In 1943, a special state breeding breeding ground was created in the Verkhoyansk district. His goal was to preserve the original species of animals and breeding "in itself." It should also be said that the breeders tried several times to cross the "Yakuts" with other plant breeds, but none of their attempts were unsuccessful. It is said that the nature of Yakutia protects the purity of this breed.


Very little is known about the origin of this unusual horse. Firstly, in the harsh conditions no one ever asked this question. And, secondly, it is very difficult to excavate and research in this region. However, some scientists decided to find out the truth and today they firmly say that the Yakut horse is very ancient. Presumably they are descended from the primitive horses of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.

Research scientists have shown that the Yakut breed has a lot at the genetic level with horses of Asian origin. For example, with the Kazakh, Arab, Kyrgyz and even Akhal-Teke breed. What, of course, can not be said in appearance. But the exterior of these animals, as seen in the photo, was influenced by the harsh nature of Yakutia for centuries. So the statements of experts are quite likely.

Yakuts and horses

Of course, in order to most accurately know the history of this breed, you need to look at the relationship of horses with the locals. The fact is that the Yakuts are very good horse breeders and they are engaged in this business since ancient times. They do not just love their horses, but take care to preserve their uniqueness. Horse breeding for the people of the North is a vital industry, without which they simply would not have survived in the harsh tundra. They still maintain their nomadic herd horse breeding at a high level.

The Yakut horse occupies a special place in the mythology of the local people. According to the beliefs of the inhabitants of the Republic of Sakha, the patron saint of horses is the deity Dzhegegeogotho Moreover, horses are an integral part of many rituals and traditions. For example, the traditional holiday of men does not do without praising horses and treating all koumiss.


For many, many centuries, the Yakut breed retains its original appearance. These are low horses, but strong and very harmonious in their constitution. Height at the withers does not exceed 135 centimeters. As can be seen in the photo, they have an average head with a straight, clear profile, fairly wide ganash, short neck and low withers. The back is straight, smoothly turning into a wide croup.

A special distinguishing feature - low squat strong legs. They allow horses to travel long distances in search of food and easily reach the grass from under the snow. Hooves strong and covered with thick brushes. The same applies to the hair on the body - it is long (8-10 cm) and thick. The undercoat is more than 80% of the total cover, like sheep or fur animals.

A lush tail, as well as a mane covering the shoulders, protect vulnerable parts of the body from extreme cold. As for the suit, then, as seen in the photo, the Yakut horse has a variety of colors. There are both light horses (gray, buckthorn, saber, red), and dark (bay, roan, mousy, brown). Due to the long hair in winter, animals appear a little lighter than in summer.

Three intrabreed types

In Yakutia, today there are three types of horses. They were formed without human participation, and are associated with the action of a diverse climate in different regions of the region. It is also likely that in different localities the horses naturally crossed with some other aboriginal breeds. So, now there is a northern type, a large southern and a small southern.

  • Northern type - it includes Verkhoyansk and Middle Kolyma horses. It is believed that this type was formed as a result of crossing the Late Pleistocene horse with the local breeds of the Baikal region.
  • Southern small type - this includes descendants of the Megin, Lekmin and Suntar horses. It is believed that this type occurred due to more improved conditions of housing and breeding animals.
  • Southern large type - characterized by a more elongated body and high withers. Also, these horses are heavy and able to perform complex work, which is clearly seen in the photo. Today, these horses are bred in the Nyurbinsky district and in Yakutia itself. The weight of some individuals can reach up to 600 kilograms.

Use of Yakut horses

As we have said, the Yakut horse is very hardy and frost-resistant. This allows the use of animals in the most severe areas of Yakutia. It is best to keep these horses in a herd way, where there are between 15 and 24 mares per stallion. Animals in the wild get their own food, but are not afraid to approach settlements in search of hay.

Domestic Yakut horses are used mainly for transport purposes. They have a quick stride and a fairly comfortable gallop. On a snowy path, animals run 3200 meters on average in 5 minutes. It is also worth noting that these horses, despite the climate, are real long-livers. On average, the local population uses their horses to 27 years.

Valuable meat and milk

Horse breeding for tundra residents is not only an opportunity to provide themselves with transport, but also valuable meat and milk. Traditional fatty dishes help to survive even the most severe winters. Koumiss and horse meat, no matter how strange it may sound to horse lovers, make up the majority of the Yakut diet. But such rules are dictated to people by local nature, where poor vegetation, and other livestock and poultry simply do not survive.

The uniqueness of the horses

The Yakut horse possesses extraordinary abilities to live at very low temperatures. Her whole body is adapted to this. First, the thick long hair, as seen in the photo, is not typical of most domestic horses. Secondly, a special fat layer allows you to keep warm in the body for a long time.

In addition, these animals have unique physiological mechanisms of adaptation to cold. For example, in summer, the horses breathing frequency is about 20 breaths per minute, while in winter it decreases to 10. And a small, quick step helps the animal, making rhythmic movements, to keep warm during movement.

Photo Gallery

Photo 1. Herd of northern horses Photo 2. Domestic horses in the pen Photo 3. Yakut large stallion Photo 4. White fluffy Yakut horse

Video "Horses in Yakutia"

In this video you can see all the unusual and special beauty of the northern horses. How they live in the herd, as well as the relationship with the person, all this will demonstrate a beautiful video.




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