Caspian horses are an ancient breed, having been identified as one of the 4 distinct types that made up the evolution of Equus as a species. Arabian horses (and Thoroughbred horses) are thought to have evolved from Caspian Horses. Caspian Horses have been verified as the lost breed of the Persian Kings, where they were treasured as pets and pulled chariots for special occasions.
Thought to be extinct, they were rediscovered by Louise Firouz in the early 1960's. The Shah of Iran established a state stud and brought the breed back from the brink of extinction. When the Shah was overthrown in the early '80's the breed again faced extinction. But with Louise Firouz' dedication, a small breeding herd was exported to England. Following this, Iran imposed stringent export restrictions on the horses; restrictions that continue to exist today. In the early 1980's, Firouz located a number of horses running wild that were confirmed to carry different DNA than those already exported. In a daring covert 8 month overland trek to England, a small number of mares and stallions survived and were incorporated into the existing registry. Outside of Iran, all registered Caspian Horses can trace their lineage to those procured by Firouz. Since then survivors of the breed with different DNA have been found running wild in Iran and incorporated into the registry.
The Caspian, standing between 10 and 12.2 hands is a horse. With its horse scapula, it demonstrates the elegance, stride and movement of a modern horse. They are especially prized for their calm temperament; it is not uncommon for breeding stallions to be used as children's mounts or driven in-tandem team. With their stifle joint located well down the hind leg, they are especially adept at jumping.
Purebred Caspian Horse populations around the world are estimated to be just over 2000. They are on the critically endangered breeds list.
There are 3 types of Caspian Horses; Arabian, Thoroughbred and the newly identified Steppe type. All types are perfect miniatures of their larger more well known counterparts.
In many ways the Caspian Horse is the original horse for sport.
The Royal Seal of King Darius portrays King Darius aiming his bow at lion from a chariot drawn by a Caspian Horse.
The Caspian Horse is well documented in Persian Art and mural motifs.
Like other Central Asian breeds, Caspian Horses have a metallic sheen to their summer coats.
For more information on Caspian horses go to www.caspian.org