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Chinese Famous Horses

China is home for almost all species of horses with its vast territory and diverse climate. In the Chinese ancient history, equestrian nations once created splendid achievements, so there is an inseparable relation between Chinese people and the horse. Generally, the Chinese horse species can be divided into two groups: the native varieties, such as Mongolian horse, Kazakh horse, Hequ horse and Yunnan horse; and the cultivated varieties, such as Sanhe horse of Inner Mongolia and Ili horse of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

 Mongolian Horse     

Mongolian horse (oil painting)
Mongolian horse, mainly live on the Mongolian grassland, is a relatively immemorial horse family in China or even all over the world.
It is a typical grassland horse variety. With an average height of 120 cm to 135 cm and a weight of 267 kg to 370 kg, they are actually not large in physique, which are characterized by stout body, solid and mighty limbs, rough and robust constitution, big head and wide forehead, short legs, sturdy muscle tendon. Their bodies are heavily covered with hair of diversified colors. They have surprisingly strong vitality, enduring hardship and wintriness and surviving under rough and execrable condition. They can travel 60 km more or less in 8 hours. Being intrepid without comparison, the domesticated Mongolian horse is a favorite war-horse all through the ages.

 Kazakh Horse

Kazakh horse, originated from Xinjiang, is also a kind of grassland horse variety. It mainly characterized by medium-sized head, comeliness, short ears, long and thin neck, upright mane, narrow chest, knife-shaped hind limbs.

During the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD), Emperor Wu sent the famous diplomat Zhang Qian to Turkestan (or the Western Region), today's Ili in Kazakstan, in search of well-bred horses, which may be the predecessor of Kazakh horse. In the Mid-Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Huihe tribe sold hundreds of thousands of horses to the Tang Dynasty annually, in which a great many are Kazakh horses. All this prove that most horse varieties in northwestern China have some blood relationship with the Kazakh horse.

  Hequ Horse

Hequ horse, usually an article of tribute in ancient china, is also an ancient and well-bred variety. They originated on the grassland adjoining Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan provinces in the upper reaches of the Yellow River. With an average height of 132 cm to 139 cm and a weight of 350 kg to 450 kg, they are endowed with the hugest physique among all local horse varieties in China. They have long and big head, ridgy nose bridge in the shape of a rabbit head, thick neck, deep and wide chest cage, and stout physique. With a load of 100 kg to 150 kg, they can travel 50 km per day. Hequ horse, with remarkable endurance, is docile and quick to recover from fatigue. With all these characteristics, they are often used in laborious farming work.

 Xinan (southwest) Pony

Xinan pony is mainly distributed in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces, characterized by little in physique and talented in traveling through mountains. Xinan pony has a relatively bigger head, long and dense bristle, caudal seta and mane, robust muscle tendon, and hard hooves. Being skillful at climbing over mountains, they can travel 30 km to 40 km per day with a load of 100 kg, so they are very important transportation means in mountainous areas in southwestern China. Famous varieties include Sichuan Jianchang horse, Yunnan Lijiang horse and Guizhou horse.

  Sanhe Horse

The pedigree of Sanhe horse is very complicated. At the beginning of the 20th century, some well-bred varieties such as Orloffs were introduced into northeastern China by some Russian aristocrats. During the period of Japanese invasion, some other horse varieties such as blood horses and Anglo-Arabian horses were also brought along. By intercrossing with native varieties, these varieties gradually evolved into Sanhe horse.

Higher and bigger than the Mongolian horse, Sanhe horse has a stout physique, pretty appearance, deep and long chest cage, tough muscle, flat back, and tough limbs. Its hair color mainly contains red, brown and black and it has an average height of 140 cm to147 cm and a weight of 330 kg to 380 kg. With powerful and fierce appearance but obedient temperament, Sanhe horse acclimatizes itself to group-herd life. It takes only 1 minute and 10 seconds to cover 1 km by riding Sanhe horse. When pulling a cart with a load of 500 kg, a single Sanhe horse can cover 10 km in half an hour.

  Ili Horse      

Ili horse
Ili horse evolved as a result of intercrossing Kazakh horse of Xinjiang with Don horse or Orloff of the former Soviet Union. So this variety is also called Er Chuanzi Horse (means the horse was bred by intercrossing two varieties of horses). After the 1960s, the cultivation of Ili horse mainly based on Don horse, the parentage of which accounted for above 50%.

The average height of Ili horse is 144 cm to 148 cm, and weight 400 kg to 450 kg. High, big, and well-proportioned in physique, Ili horse has a small head, big and bright eyes, long neck, and tough limbs. When holding their nape high, they look fierce and powerful; while their pretty hair color makes their appearance more delicate and graceful. Their hair is mainly in red, brown and black. On their limbs and front part, there are white blotches described as white seal. With gentle temperament and remarkable agility, good at hopping, Ili horse is a suitable transportation means on mountainous area as well as plains. With a load of 80 kg, it can gallop 126 km in 7 hours and 12 minutes. Ili horse is a first-class light-duty riding horse.