EQUUS - - Insights Conformati­on -

Five sim­i­lar breeds re­sulted from the quest for tin, cop­per, lead and cat­tle in the pe­riod from about 700 B.C. to A.D. 200. Phoeni­cian and other sea-traders from the western Mediter­ranean sailed west through the Straits of Gi­bral­tar and up the west coast of Ibe­ria found­ing trad­ing colonies all along the route. With them they brought stal­lions of Afro-Tur­kic deriva­tion (3), which cov­ered mares of the Draft sub­species na­tive to western Europe (2), thus found­ing the Ibe­rian Jen­net (5), Brit­tany (6), Cor­nish (7), Welsh (9) and Ir­ish Hobby (8) breeds. The Hobby was bred by Ir­ish roy­alty for sprint­rac­ing, while all these breeds were orig­i­nally val­ued for their com­fort­able am­bling travel gait.

While all breeds rep­re­sented on this map are sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance and over­all size (800 to 900 pounds), the Ibe­rian and Ir­ish forms are as­ton­ish­ingly sim­i­lar, re­flect­ing the long his­tory of north-south trade over the Celtic Sea. All of them ex­hibit to some ex­tent the char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally un­du­lat­ing fa­cial pro­file and rounded muz­zle they in­her­ited from their Draft-sub­species an­ces­tresses. Pho­tographs of re­cent Kerry Bog and As­turian stal­lions were used to cre­ate the Hobby and Jen­net icons re­spec­tively. The icon for the ex­tinct Bre­ton horse is based on a photo of its di­rect de­scen­dant, the Old Cana­dian; the two breeds are iden­ti­cal, though only the Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion is still in ex­is­tence. The Welsh icon is drawn from a photo of a Welsh Pony of cob type; other Welsh ponies were topcrossed in the 19th cen­tury with Ara­bian and thus do not re­sem­ble the an­cient type. The Cor­nish pony is rare to­day; the icon is drawn from an early 20th­cen­tury pho­to­graph of one of the last of the Cor­nish mine ponies. For review and more de­tails, see “The Hobby: World’s Most Im­por­tant Horse Breed” (EQUUS 446).

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