This is the Horse Breeds Series, a series of music videos, each of which is dedicated to a breed of horse. It is done entirely by requests. If you would like to see a particular breed, please message me or comment. Current request by Bleachhorserider.

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Breed: Yakut

Age: Ancient

Place of Origin: Yakutia, Siberia, Russia

Color: Any

Height: 13.2 to 14.3 hh

Population Status: Common

History: Yakut horses have lived in the Yakutia region of Siberia for thousands of years. They were brought to Siberia by the ancestors of the Yakut people. The Yakut horses’ ancestors were some of the first horses ever domesticated, originating from Central Asia. The Yakut people have bred and used them for countless generations. Over the centuries, they have bred their horses to other breeds to improve them when given the opportunity. The amount of crossbreeding varied from place to place, and that is how this breed’s types were created. These horses are so adapted to cold weather that Robert Falcon Scott used them on his South Pole expedition in 1910. (Every horse died in Antarctica, some meeting their doom by being eaten by killer whales. Scott also failed to see the end of his quest.) Most Yakut horses are still raised out in the wild only to be rounded up in winter, for the Yakut people consider horses to be very close to wild animals. The horses foal in the spring and are then set loose. Used for centuries as a source of food, clothing, transportation, and workforce, the Yakut horse’s role began to lessen in the 20th century; however, they are finding a new role in the tourist industry. Yakut people were very tied to their horses in the past, and many continue to feel a spiritual connection with their horses in the modern day. Some Yakut horses are currently being bred to the Dzhabe (Jabe) horse to produce an early maturing meat horse. Yakuts are also being used in breeding for the Dzhabe and Bashkir breeds in some locations.

Characteristics: The Yakut is a massive horse compared to its other Mongolian horse cousins. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is in the Arctic Circle and has the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere. For this reason, the Yakut horse has developed into the ultimate cold weather horse. They have wonderful endurance. These horses are small in order to live off scanty food, and they are not usually picky about what they eat. Their manes, tails, and winter coats are extremely thick and shaggy. Their heads are average size, straight or concave, and coarse with a broad forehead. The neck is short, broad, and straight, withers are low but wide. The back is straight and medium in length, and the croup is wide. The chest is deep and wide. Yakuts have short and strong legs with firm hooves without cackles. These strong hooves can break through hard layers of ice and snow. Their legs are closely set at the hock, and the hock angle is often narrow. Free-roaming Northern Yakuts will eat enormous amounts of food in the warmer months and will be round and fat by winter in preparation for the cold weather. Their breathing slows down in the winter to conserve energy. An extremely keen sense of smell, even by horse terms, allows the Yakuts to locate food in even the deepest snow. Despite their cold weather adaptations, they easily adapt to warm weather. Their predominant color is gray. They have a special running-walk gait called the tropota. The Yakut is long-lived and slow to mature, reaching full maturity at 4 or 5 years old.

Types: There are 3 main types. The Northern Type, also called the Middle Koylma or Verkhoyansk horse, is the original breed preserved for thousands of years. This type is the heaviest and somewhat large, has primitive coloration, and is considered the most valuable type. Different regions have different varieties, including the Yansky and the Koylmsky. The Smaller Southern Type is also uncrossed and very similar but is smaller and considered to be of lesser quality. The Larger Southern Type is a result of crossbreeding with other breeds, usually trotters and/or drafts, and it tends to be up to a hand taller than the others with more muscular croups. Varieties of the Larger Southern Yakuts, based on what breed(s) were most used in crossing, include the Suntar, Oleminsk, and Megezh. The Megezh is the largest variety, a draft type resulting from crossing with the Kuznet breed.

Uses: Yakuts breed their horses for meat, milk, fumis (fermented mare’s milk), and fur. They also use them for transportation, hauling, haymaking, hunting, fishing, and racing. Recently they are finding jobs as riding horses for tourists.