Video: Yakut Horse
The Yakutian horse is an aboriginal horse breed widespread in Yakutia. It is the most northerly of the horse breeds and the only one that can withstand temperatures as low as -70 ° in a hypercontinental climate. Until now, there is no final answer to the question of where the horses so adapted to the local harsh life appeared in the Arctic. Either these are the direct ancestors of horses that lived here during the time of mammoths, or the ancestors of Mongolian horses who came with the Yakuts from the Baikal region, or this is a new breed resulting from the crossing of both. It was recognized as an independent breed in 1987.
In comparison with Mongolian horses close to it in type, the Yakut horse is distinguished by its great growth and massiveness. Compared to ordinary horses, she is short, long-bodied, large-headed and wide-backed.
For a long time, local residents have worshiped the horse. In the ancient Yakut legends it is said that in the beginning God created a horse, and from him man came. At the end of July, cheerful folk festivals - Ysyakh - are held throughout Yakutia. The horse is the only animal to which the Yakuts attribute a soul (kut).
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Commander Vitus Bering, leading the first expedition in January 1725, arriving in Yakutsk, first demanded 600 horses. In 1893, British explorer Frederick George Jackson used Yakut horses to travel through winter Siberia. The following year, he embarked on an international expedition to explore Franz Josef Land with four Yakut horses, including the mare Brownie, which was omnivorous and ate, among other things, polar bear meat. Two American expeditions around the Arctic Circle (1901 and 1903) also used these horses.
Despite its small stature, the Yakut horse is strong, strong, it has a measured and confident step. With vast distances and impassable roads, horse transport provided regular communication between remote Siberian villages and cities. So, for example, annually Yakut horses, loaded with goods, were sent to Srednekolymsk, covering a distance of 2500 km, while passing about 1600 km in desert places on pasture. Then the horses went back, crossing many rivers and even rivers under the pack.
Despite the onset of the era of mechanization, the number of Yakut horses did not decrease, because for the Yakut it is not only a means of transportation and earning, but also meat, and fat, and kumis.
The Yakut breed of horses is the most frost-resistant, with an undercoat and wool 8-15 cm long. Even in winter, it can feed on grass from under the snow, raking it with hooves. All year round, the Yakut horse grazes in the wild, not recognizing either roofs in the rain, or the warmth of the stables in the fierce sixty-degree frosts. Each leader holds his own joint. It contains from 18 to 24 mares and foals. So, family, animals and graze.
In the spring, horses move away from people's homes, disappearing in the forests on pastures. An experienced leader knows good, feeding places where you can quickly recuperate after a hungry winter. At this time, mating occurs. The stallions become aggressive. When two shoals meet, the fight between the stallions will be bloody.
Only at the beginning of summer a short time of calm grazing is established. Then, for almost two months, Yakut horses escape from gadflies and mosquitoes, feeding in fits and starts, running from place to place, climbing into swamps, entering dwellings abandoned in the forest. And as soon as the first frost will kill annoying insects, they switch to continuous grazing. Yakut horses eat off for the future, stocking up for the winter with fat, the weight of which is up to 22% of the animal's weight.
If a wolf appears, the mares gather in a circle, driving foals into the center, and the leader boldly goes to the troublemaker. Worse when in winter a pack of wolves is on the snow crust. The leader cannot cope with her. When meeting a bear, even if it is alone, the stallion never managed to defeat it. The herders say that at such a moment he trembles, already afraid of one kind of clubfoot, but nevertheless goes forward and fights, protecting the mares and foals, to death.
In October, when the snow falls, herders on tamed horses look for shoals in the woods and drive them into the hedges to split. There they mark, weigh, separate those who are to become a workhorse or a racehorse, and who are to be put on meat. All the rest are released.
In winter, in severe frosts, experienced leaders take pregnant mares to the taiga thickets, to the rivers, where dry bunches of grass can be found under the snow cover. Horses graze in the snow all winter, and this is the main difference between the Yakut horse and other breeds. By frost, she has time to overgrow with thick wool, and the supply of fat (2-3 cm thick) reliably protects against frost.
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Foals of the Yakut breed are born in early spring, in the snow. The foal survival rate averages 60-65%, in the best years - up to 80%. At this time, the herders try to be near. They feed the emaciated young with hay, keep an eye on those who will soon have foals. They catch them in time, take them away from the school, so as not to let the newly born foal lie on the frozen ground and not get sick.
Yakut horses are late maturing, but durable: reaching full development only by 5-6 years, they are often used in breeding and work up to 25-27 years. They are hardy and quick-witted, and they are good at running on rough terrain.
Today, stallions of the Yakut horse are used as pack horses, and mares for the production of milk, from which kumis is made. The queens give 6-8 or more liters of milk per day. Clothes are sewn from horse skins. In Siberia, these horses are used in agricultural work, for haymaking, hunting and fishing in rural areas, horse tourism and for riding children.
At present, three types are distinguished in the breed: the northern original (Srednekolymskaya, Verkhoyanskaya horse), 137-139 cm high at the withers; southern, smaller type, not crossed with factory breeds, 132-135 cm high; southern large type, deviating towards the factory breeds used to improve the local Yakut horse, 136-141 cm high.
Yakut horses have a short step. At a gallop along a heavy snow track of 3200 meters, they pass in a little more than 5 minutes, and they pass 1600 meters in about 3 minutes.
Yakut horses are widely used in winter in carts for the delivery of various goods to gold mines and places of development of other minerals, and in summer under a pack. With a small stature, they carry a pack weighing 80-100 kg and travel up to 100 km per day, while in winter they carry 300-350 kg of cargo on sleds, making 50 or more kilometers per day.
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Depending on the habitat, its measurements are somewhat different. Thus, in the northern regions with somewhat better feeding conditions, the horses are taller, larger, and more bony than in the southern ones. So, the height at the withers in horses of the northern regions is 134 cm, the oblique length of the body is 145, the girth of the chest is 166 and the girth of the pastern is 18.2 cm, and in horses of the southern regions, respectively, 130, 141, 158 and 17.6 cm.
The weight of six-month-old foals reaches 105 kg, at 2.5 years of age - 165 kg, in adult horses - 380-600 kg.
Yakut horses are mostly light: gray, dun, savrasaya, roan, mouse.
Build: medium-sized coarse head with a straight profile; broad forehead; deep and wide chest; wide withers; broad, medium-length back; long, sloping croup; short, strong legs with hard hooves; the mane and tail are thick, very long.
The bulk of the horses of the Yakut breed are concentrated in the valleys of the middle reaches of the Lena River, as well as to the north, in the basins of the Yana, Kolyma and Indigirka.