The Bosnian Pony, which
originates in the former Yugoslavia, bears a startling number of
similarities to both the Hucul and the Konik pony breeds. These
three are collectively known as the Balkan breeds. They are all
ancient breeds, and the Bosnian pony is considered to have developed
through a cross between the Tarpan and the Asian Wild Horse (also
known as Przewalski's Horse). Further infusions of oriental stock
probably would have been introduced to the breed by the Turks during
the Ottoman Empire, and this led to a deterioration within the breed.
This was later rectified by repeated introductions of Tarpan blood.
The Bosnian pony has been
prized in its area for many centuries and, since the 1900s, has
been selectively bred. For many years, the principal center of breeding
was at the Borike Stud in Bosnia, where stallions were strictly
controlled by the state, while mares were owned under private ownership.
The use of the three original stallions - Agan, Barat, and Misco
- during the 1940s had an important overall improving effect
on the stock. The former two were of a type similar to the Asian
Wild Horse and were stocky in build, while Misco had a lighter,
better quality appearance. Until the recent troubles, there was
a very strict standard set for stallions to ensure that only the
strongest and very best specimens were allowed to breed and they
were required to compete in performance tests.
Due to the controls imposed
on the breed, the Bosnian pony is an extremely useful and functional
animal, quite capable of light farm work, light draft, pack, and
riding. They are frequently used for pack purposes because they
are very sure-footed over terrain unsuitable for motorized vehicles.
The Bosnian pony is very hardy and tough, with a docile temperament,
which makes them easy to handle and good to ride.
In appearance, these ponies
retain a fairly primitive look, which is in line with the Asian
Wild Horse, but with greater quality and refinement, which is due
to the infusions of oriental blood. They have a heavy head with
a straight profile, full forelock, and small ears. They have a short
muscular neck, with long sloping shoulders, a straight back, sloping
hindquarters, and a deep, wide chest. They are most often bay, brown,
black, or palomino in color, and can stand between 13 and 14.2 hh.
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