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Interesting facts about the Polish horse

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We found 15 interesting facts about the Polish horse

His ancestor was Tarpan.

Polish horses, also called Bilgoraj horses, are descendants of the wild tarpans that lived in the forested areas of Eastern Europe until the end of the 1923 century. The first attempts to breed Polish horses were made in XNUMX in Janów Podlaski and later, after World War II, in Popelin and other centers. They are also currently bred in the Roztoče National Park and have become its emblem. They are very friendly, trusting animals with a calm temperament - these traits intensify as they interact with people.


Polish horses are the only native, original breed of horse obtained directly from wild tarpans (Equus caballus gmelini).

Tarpans are an extinct species of wild horse, similar to Przewalski's horses, discovered in Asia by Russian explorer Nikolai Przewalski in 1876. Tarpans inhabited the forested areas of Europe - eastern Poland, Lithuania and Prussia - until the end of the XNUMXth century.

In the vicinity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, tarpans survived until 1780 or 1786, when they were caught and placed in the zoo of Counts Zamoyski near Bilgoraj.

Tarpans survived the longest in the steppes of Ukraine (the last wild horses there died out in the early 80s).


The Tarpans, located on the Zamoyski estate around 1806, were given to local peasants due to poverty.

As a result of crossing with local horses by Professor Tadeusz Wetulani, a Polish biologist and livestock specialist, a breed was developed called the Polish Konik.

In 1936, this scientist began work on recreating wild forest tarpans in Belovezhskaya Pushcha using Polish horses.


The Vetulani breeding farm was destroyed during the Second World War, and some of the horses were exported to Germany.

In 1949, the surviving Polish horses arrived in Popielno in the Piszka Forest (Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship) and there, at the Institute of Genetics and Experimental Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences, scientific research and conservation breeding are carried out on them (conscious actions leading to the conservation of endangered original breeds of animals in order to protect resource genes).

Polish Koniks live there in the open air, and their care is limited to feeding them hay in winter. Horses are also kept in reserve conditions at the Experimental Station of the University of Life Sciences in Poznań.


Polish horses appeared in the Rastocze National Park in 1982.

A reserve breeding plant for these horses was created here, called “Ostoy”. In a separate forest enclave near the Echo ponds, the area of ​​which was about 40 hectares, 4 mares and a stallion were released. The first horses were born in Ostoja in 1983 - one of the mares born then, Tshmielina, lives in Ostoja to this day, having given birth to 22 foals during her career.

The “Shelter” has been expanded three times and currently occupies about 180 hectares, where Polish horses have at their disposal: forest, meadows, the valley of the Sversch River and the grassy embankments of the Echo ponds.


The Polish Konik is a type of primitive long-living horse, resistant to disease and harsh living conditions.

These horses have a hard hoof horn, thanks to which they can work on hard ground without needing shoes.


They are small animals with a strong and stocky body structure.

Their height is 135-140 cm, measured at the withers. Chest circumference 165 cm, body weight 300-400 kg.


The well-proportioned head with a wide forehead and straight profile is set on a short, wide, low-set, muscular neck.

The head has small thick ears and lively eyes. The withers are not very pronounced, the shoulders are short, the body is quite long, the back is mature. Horses typically have a droopy belly and a truncated croup.

The shape of Polish horses is quite primitive, and the silhouette is mundane, barrel-shaped. The term "primitive" used for them is due to the fact that these horses, thanks to their wild ancestors, retained many specific original features - hence the term "primitive horses".


Polish horses have short limbs with strong bones.

They have large and strong hooves.


A distinctive breed feature of Polish horses is the mouse color.

Light, dark and round hair shades are allowed. A dark stripe runs along the back, and stripes on the limbs or other parts of the body are also desirable. The mane and tail are completely black or with light hairs.


Based on their structure and type, several rude and more noble individuals can be distinguished.

The former usually have a rather large head and a short neck. More noble individuals have small, slender heads and relatively long necks with more clearly defined withers.

The desirable type of exterior is that of a primitive horse with abundant hair on the mane and tail. More noble heads and a slight divergence of the forelimbs and saber-shaped hindquarters are allowed.


Polish conics are distinguished by good health, longevity, low requirements for feed and the environment, and resistance to harsh living conditions.

They adapt very easily to new surroundings. Polish horses are bred according to three systems: stable, non-stable and reserve.


According to their exterior characteristics, Polish horses are mainly used as draft animals.

Other qualities of their conformation, such as their gentle nature, friendly attitude towards people and willingness to work, make them the most commonly used horse for both children and adults.

Due to their short stature, appropriate temperament and ease of establishing contact with people, they are popular in hippotherapy.

A specific form of use of Polish horses is their use in landscape protection, i.e. preventing plant succession in open grassy areas. Eating and trampling the shoots of young plants and biting the bark of already grown trees limit their succession.

Polish horses play the role of so-called living mowers - they are used to fight vegetation and maintain the landscape.


Polish horses are promoted through the organization of breeding and equestrian events.

Similar events have been held regularly at the turn of August and September for several years. The most important of them is the Tarpaniada, organized in Sierakow and combined with the National Polish Horse Show.

Complex Polish horse competitions in memory of the professor are held in Wojnow. T. Vetulani.

The Roztocze National Park in Zwierzyniec organizes fitness tests, breeding reviews and scientific conferences dedicated to Polish horses every two years.


Polish horses are herd animals and live in a so-called herd of eight mares with their offspring and a stallion.

In a herd there is a matriarchy, the leader of the herd is the oldest mare, who leads the herd to new feeding grounds and shelter from rain, wind, frost and insects.

The stallion is responsible for safety, he is always nearby, watching the surroundings. During migrations, the herd is the last to go.

The herd stallion does not allow young stallions to remain in the herd for too long and turns them away when they are about 1 year old. Thus, it prevents mares from mating with other stallions.

Young stallions, herded from the herd group, together form the so-called bachelor herd.

Polish Konik mares are very fertile and produce foals until late in life.


Polish horses became the emblem of the Roztocze National Park.

Their image is present in the park's logo, and their presence in a separate area of ​​the park is its big attraction.

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