The Konik horse is a pony breed that originated in Poland. Konik means little horse in Polish. These horses have a remarkably long lifespan and high fertility. They are often cow-hocked. They are used as farm horses in Poland as they are strong and sturdy despite their small size. Their action is very poorly developed, as they were more popular as draft ponies rather than riding ponies. It is very easy to breed Konik horses. It is durable and economical to keep and does not ask for plenty of food.
History of Konik Horse
Konik’s horse is not exactly a wild horse. It draws its lineage from the Tarpan. To be more specific, their ancestors were the last to be caught among wild ones in the ancient forest of Bialowieza in Poland in the late part of the 19th century. Then, they were taken to a game preserve- Zwierzyniec close to Bilgoraj in Southeast Poland. After the preserve was over, the farmers in the area got these horses. They managed to maintain their primitive traits as the land was poor and they had to live a wild life. They were not provided with much care. Contamination of outside blood must have taken place but Konik horses of Poland appear to have retained several characteristics of Tarpan.
In the early part of the past century, scientists developed an interest in Tarpan. Several Tarpan descendants were studied under feral or nearly feral conditions. Twelve brood mares with their offspring and one stallion were brought to Popielno in Poland in 1949. They were all descendants of Vetulani/ Bialowieza. Of the experiment or study conducted on Tarpan descendants, 15 more had survived in the primitive forest of Bialowieza.
Physique of Konik Horse
This is a well-proportioned breed and very similar to the Hucul, to which it is closely related. Konik’s horse is short-sighted. It has a tough and solid build. The head is light and has a straight profile. Its neck emerges low out of the chest. This horse has a deep chest and its mane is thick. It is extremely robust and can thrive on poor fare.
Height of Konik Horse
The Konik horse attains a height of about 13.1 hands high.
Body Color of Konik Horse
The Konik horses are seen in mouse gray or grullo coats with dorsal stripes. Some of them are said to grow white winter coats.
The Temperament of Konik Horse
Konik’s horse is tough, quiet, and independent. It is willing and good-natured but at times is stubborn.
Uses of Konik Horse
Konik horses are used in harnesses. They are also used for light draft work and are suited well for this purpose because of their strong body. For draught and riding also, these horses are used extensively. They also seem to be good children’s ponies.
Konik horse is a near relative of the Tarpan. It is one of the foundation breeds of Eastern Europe and has influenced most of the Polish and Russian horses and ponies. It combines the toughness and frugality of the Tarpan with a kind disposition and willingness to learn.
It makes it easy to train a productive worker. It is as important to the economy of lowland farmers as the Hucul is to the hill farmers. It is so much in demand as a work pony both in Poland and in neighboring countries that it is widely bred by farmers and on State studs. The existence of the Konik pony seems secure because of the industrious efforts of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
See more: Masuren Horse