Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Bashkir   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Bashkir (also known as 'Bashkir Curly,' not to be confused with the North American Bashkir Curly which is a different breed) is an ancient Russian horse breed, which is famous for its curly coat. It is named after Bashkiria (today known as the Republic of Bashkortostan,) where it was developed.

The birthplace of the Bashkir are the Ural Mountains, and the steppes near the Volga river, where the summer is short and hot, and the winters are long and freezing. The Bashkiri people, who arrived at these regions in the 7th century, raised their horses in taboon conditions, meaning that they let their horses roam outside and fend for themselves all-year long. These horses developed into the Bashkir breed.

The Bashkir horse played a main role in the life of the Bashkiri people. Bashkir mares became a prominent source of milk, a role which they still fulfil today, as mare's milk is popular in Russia. In addition, Bashkir horses served as mounts, and became known in Russia for their sturdiness, endurance, and speed. Furthermore, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Bashkir horses also served as cavalry horses in Russia.

Outside of Russia, the Bashkir became famous for another reason: its curly coat which it often have, and which is a rare trait among horses. The presence of curly hairs in the Bashkir breed is probably related to the fact that Bashkir horses had to cope with the extreme Russian winter in order to survive, and the curly hairs provided insulation against the cold. The curliness also applies to their manes, tails, eyelashes, hair inside their ears, and feathering. In the summer, Bashkir horses shed their curly coat, leaving their remaining hair looking straight (though a close examination will reveal that it is still slightly curly). The shed hairs can then be used to make fabrics.

While Bashkir horses are regarded as saddle horses, their conformation can resemble that of a light draft: their heads are wide and deep, their necks are thick and short, and their legs are short as well. Their backs, however, are long, and create a rectangular frame. There are two subtypes of Bashkir horses: the Mountain Bashkir which is smaller and stockier, and the Steppe Bashkir which is taller and better suited for saddle and harness work. Both subtypes can be found in Horse Isle.

Bashkir horses come in the colors of bay, brown, black, chestnut, cream-dilutions, grey, dun, and roan. They can also have a tobiano, sabino, or spotted (Appaloosa) coat, though the latter is extremely rare. In addition, they often have primitive markings. Bashkir horses stand between 13.1hh and 14.1hh.

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