Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
Our Massive Real World Equine Reference!


[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Datong   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Datong (also known as the 'Dragon Horse') is an old Chinese breed, which is famous for its endurance. It is also one of the few breeds in the world that exhibit prominent frontal bosses.

Datong horses originated in China around 4,000 years ago. They became known as "1,000 li" horses because of their purported ability to gallop a 1,000 li (equal to 250 miles, or ~402 kilometers) per day. While the actual distance they were able to cover might be lower, this nickname demonstrates that even the ancient Chinese valued their Datong horses for having incredible endurance. This made them favored as cavalry horses among the various emperors of China.

Another nickname that Datong horses got from the ancient Chinese was "Dragon Horses," because of two bony bumps that they have on their forehead, which the Chinese believed to be horns, similar to the horns of a dragon. Today, however, it is known that these small bumps are not horns, but an anatomical trait called 'frontal bosses.' This trait is extremely rare among horses, especially because many breeders throughout history perceived it as a defect, and therefore actively bred it out of most horse breeds.

The last trait that makes Datong popular as riding horses in today's China, and might have also made them popular among the ancient Chinese, is the ability of many Datong horses to pace, and sometimes even amble. This, together with their ability to cope well with mountainous regions and high altitudes, makes Datong horses the ideal mounts for riders who want to travel the mountains of China.

Datong horses are small and compact, and have a heavy head of medium length, a short neck, low withers, and a rectangular frame. The exact conformation depends on the exact subtype of the Datong horse since there are two subtypes: the Heavy Datong which is shorter and more muscular, and the Light Datong which is taller and more athletic. Both of these subtypes are found in Horse Isle.

Datong horses come in the colors of bay, chestnut, black, brown, and grey. They usually have solid coats, though leopard coats are found as well. White markings are either absent or limited to face and lower legs. Datong horses stand between 12.2hh and 14hh.


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