Our Massive Real World Equine Reference!
[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Mezen [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The horse from Arkhangel:
It is unknown when the people of Arkhangel created the Mezen horse by blending Danish, Estonian, Finnish, and German breeds. The first records of Mezen horses trace back to the diary of John Tradescant the Elder, a British naturalist who went on an expedition to Russia in the summer of 1618:
"For ther horses they be well shaped, short kryt, well joynted; only their Tarter horses be longe, much like to the Barbery horses, but of the best use of any in the knowne world, as I have heard Captain Gilbert report, that hathe long lived there he had on which he hathe rod a whole day together, and at night hathe give him a littill provender, and the next day hathe don the like, and so for many dayes, and yet he confessethe that he hathe not known seldom one of tire.
Also the contrie howses... having the yard rounded withe cow-houses, and placed for shepe and horse, being all open to the yardsyde."
[Quoted verbatim from Tradescant's account about the rural life in Arkhangel]
A horse for all seasons:
As Tradescant noted during his summer visit, Mezen horses had solid conformation and excellent endurance. However, he left too early to witness the true hardiness of the Mezen horses, which enabled them to live and work seamlessly in the freezing winters of Arkhangel.
Mezen horses had the ability to "glide" through deep snow, and were used for draft work in forestry, such as logging, and agriculture, such as pulling wagons of hay. They were also used for transporting fish from Arkhangel to Moscow and St. Petersburg. This journey, which spawns over 1,000km, required outstanding endurance and, during summertime, speed as well, as fish spoil quickly in warm weather (see 'Bullonaise' for more info).
Although Mezen horses were small in size compared to other draft horses, they fulfilled all of their roles on the best side possible, and became a common sight in Arkhangel.
The Mezen today:
During the 20th century, Ardennais blood was added to create the Mezen we know today, perhaps in order to increase its size or strength. Unfortunately, this did not help the old draft horse, who was rendered redundant in the light of mechanized transportation, and faced extinction due to lack of breeding.
However, a group of Russian breeders decided to save this important piece of 'Russian rural history', and continued breeding it in as pure a manner as possible.
Today, Mezen horses are bred in Arkhangel in small numbers, and the breed is rare. It is usually used in harness and competes in pulling competitions in deep snow, pulling loads ranging from 600kg to 1,200kg. In addition, the Mezen is proposed to be used in search-and-rescue missions that take places in areas inaccessible to modern vehicles, such as snowy forests.
A Siberian breed?
While some sources consider the Mezen to be a Siberian breed, it is, in fact, not from Siberia. The Arkhangel region is located in the north-west part of Russia, well away from Siberia which is in the east.
That said, both regions have a similar climate, characterized by snowy winters and extremely humid summers, especially in swampy, insect-ridden regions by the rivers. Mezen horses developed resistance to the cold, humidity, and insects, and are likely to survive well in Siberia.
Mezen horses have a heavy head with small ears and a straight profile, a thick neck, low withers that connect to a straight, long back, a sloping croup, a broad chest, a deep girth, and sturdy legs with hard hooves. Overall, they resemble the Pechora, a smaller Russian draft breed which originated by the nearby Pechora river (see 'Pechora').
The mane can grow long and is sometimes coarse. The legs have light feathering behind the fetlocks.
The following are the: range, average, (SD), and MOE of performance metrics of ordered Mezens in Horse Isle (not bred ones). In rare cases,
Speed: 13.8-15.7, 14.8 (0.4), 0.08.
Sprint: 36-53, 45 (4), 0.79.
Accel: 0.81-1.02, 0.93 (0.04), 0.01.
Decel: 1.01-1.14, 1.08 (0.03), 0.01.
Jump: 4.73-5.01, 4.86 (0.06), 0.01.
Pull: 3.04-3.68, 3.33 (0.16), 0.03.
Turning: 47.17-58.45, 53.48 (2.75), 0.54.
Reverse: 2.0-2.6, 2.3 (0.1), 0.03.
Stamina: 49.25-54.37, 51.88 (1.14), 0.22.
Reaction: 0.81-0.88, 0.85 (0.02), 0.00.
Coats & Height:
Colors: bay, brown, black, chestnut, and less often grey.
Additionals: flaxen, linebacked, sooty, dark mane & tail.
Height: 14.2 to 15.2hh.
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