By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 3, 2010

The Konik is a breed that originated in Poland. Horses of this breed can be used for riding or for light draft work. The Konik is presently rare.


Physical Characteristics


The Konik is generally a small horse. It stands at a height of 13.3 hands (53 inches, 135 centimeters). The Konik has a low-set body. It has a large chest and a cannon-like circumference. As a whole, the body appears to be rectangular in shape. Most Konik horses are mouse-colored. Most of them, too, have stripes on their back.


Personality and Temperament


The Konik is a disciplined working horse. It is an undemanding and peaceful horse. It is also known for its calm and gentle temperament. Due to these characteristics, this horse is usually found working in agricultural settings. Its small size and good temperament also make it a good mount for children. The horse is also pretty hardy. This means it can live on only small amounts of feed.


History and Background


The Konik is a small, native horse. It is estimated that the Konik has been in existence in Poland since the early 18th Century. It is said to be a direct descendant of the wild Tarpan horse.


The Konik’s small size actually worked against the breed’s survival. At the start of the 19th Century, agriculture was an important part of daily life. The Konik’s small size made it less capable of farm work than larger foreign horses. As a result, people neglected the Konik. The number of Konik horses then began to decline.


In the interval between the two World Wars, efforts were made to repopulate the Polish herds. After World War II, greater efforts to preserve the breed were made. In 1954, a project was initiated to find a reserve for the Konik breed. It was founded in the experimental department of Polish Academy in Popielno. This experimental Konik breeding station is still around today. The bulk of today’s Konik horses can be found in the National Stud Farm.

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