Exmoor Ponies in Conservation Newsletter

Issue 2 Article 18


The Tarpan is a breed over which there rages heated argument. Up to 1870, there were a number of wild herds of steppe Tarpan in Eastern Europe, Bialowieza, the Caucasus and further into Russia. In 1879 the last wild Tarpan had been killed near Askanio-Nova and in 1887 the last animal in captivity died. At this time, Polish authorities collected form the peasant farms a number of animals which bore all the necessary qualifications and put them into the Forest Reserves at Bialowieza and Popielno.

The peasants had been in the habit of catching the steppe Tarpan when they required cheap ponies on their holdings. It is argued that these horses are not true Tarpans, but none the less, they are remarkably alike in all respects: they are extremely fertile, and they may change their coats to white in winter, like other true feral animals when subjected to arctic conditions.

Locality: Poland--Popielno, Bialowieza, Haras Hubno, Grojec.

Color & Characteristics: Brown and mouse dun with dorsal stripe, dark mane and tail, intermingled silver hairs, sometimes stripes on forelegs and inner thighs; coat may change to white in winter. Long head slightly concave face, bulging at nostrils; longish ears; short, thick neck; good shoulders; long back; sloping quarters; fine legs. Very fertile. Height: about 13.3 hands high.

Other sources:

* Alvermann, Klaus. Power and Grace, The Working Horse. Concepts Publishing Inc., Chronicle Books, San Francisco. 1990. * Bongianni, Maurizio. Simon & Schuster's Guide to Horses and Ponies , Simon and Schuster, New York. 1987. * Edwards, Elwyn Hartley. The Ultimate Horse , Dorling Kindersley, Inc., New York. 1991. * Edwards, Elwyn Hartley. Eyewitness Handbooks: Horses . Dorling Kindersley, Inc., New York. 1993. * Green, Dr. Ben. The Color of Horses, The Scientific and Authoritative Identification of the Color of the Horse . Northland Publishing. 1974. * Lessiter, Frank. Horse Power . Reiman Publications, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 1977. * Kidd, Jane. International Encyclopedia of Horse and Pony Breeds . Howell Book House, New York. 1995. * Kidd, Jane. International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds . HPBooks, Tuscon, Arizona. 1986. * Sponenberg, Dr. Phillip, DVM, PhD. Equine Color Genetics . Iowa State University Press. 1996.

Copyright 1992, 1997 NorthWest Breyer Horse Club. Published December 1992 in NorthWest Breyer Horse Club Newsletter.