By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 3, 2010

The Kabarda horse can be found in the Mountains of Caucasus, in the western region of the former Soviet Republic. It is a strong and obedient horse, well-adapted to tough and mountainous terrain, including deep snow. It is widely used as a riding and pack horse.  However, the Kabarda and other breeds with Kabarda influences (e.g. the Anglo-Kabarda breed) are used in national and Olympic equestrian tournaments.


Physical Characteristics


The Kabarda’s build is typical of a saddle-horse. A Kabarda stands between 14 and 15 hands (56-60 inches, 142-152 centimeters). It has a solid physique, with long ears, a clean head and a ram-like profile. It has medium-length withers and adequate hair covering; the tail and mane, however, are thick and some even sport hair coverings on their fetlocks.


The Kabarda horse has a short but solidly-built back, a medium-length but solidly-muscled neck, a sloping and muscular croup, sloping shoulders, and a deep chest. Its hind legs are curved but well-built with strong, hard hooves and smooth joints. Its legs are correctly set, giving it a good gait, balance and surefootedness.


Personality and Temperament


Kabarda horses are strong, energetic and have great stamina. This makes them ideal sports horses. They are usually entered into national and Olympic equestrian and sporting events for this reason.


Outside the sporting world, Kabarda horses are known as one of the best horses to use in mountainous terrain. They are obedient and good-natured. They have an amazing sense of direction. They can find their way through mountain mists, across flowing water, through deep snow and narrow mountain passes, and other difficult terrains where other horses won’t even go. Due to their controllable strength and stamina, Kabarda horses are used by Caucasians not only as pack and riding horses, but also as harness horses attached to horse-powered mowers that are used to make hay from mountain grass.




Kabarda horses are strong, energetic and obedient animals that can easily find their way in mountain passes and rough terrain. They are hardy and thus require the minimum amount of care.  Nevertheless, Kabarda horse owners are advised to keep their animals well-fed (but not overly so) to get the best use out of them. Furthermore, it is suggested that harnesses, saddles and other riding and hauling equipment be placed correctly to avoid hurting the horse.


History and Background


Kabarda horses are found in the Autonomous Republic Kabardino-Balkar, located in the Northern Caucasus Mountains on the western side of the former Soviet Republic. Nomadic tribesmen initially bred Kabarda horses during the 1500s in taboons and mountain and foothill pastures. The breed has a genetic relationship with the extinct Nogai breed, as well as with other horse breeds like the Turkmenian, the Russian steppe, the Karabakh, the Arabian, and the Persian. Once it was a small breed of horse with strong conformation and free movement. It was used in the Revolution and much of its number was decimated. Efforts to rejuvenate the breed were initiated in the 1920s, resulting in the production of a stronger Kabarda horse more suited for draft work and riding.

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