- Burmese -

The Burmese, or Shan pony as the breed is also known, is another mountain breed of pony. It is primarily bred in the Shan state of Eastern Burma by the local hill tribes. The Burmese pony bears many similarities to the Manipuri, and the Bhutia and Spiti ponies of the Himalayas, and it is quite likely that these breeds are all of similar origin. They are all ancient breeds that probably developed from the Mongolian pony and had other oriental influences over the centuries.

The Burmese pony, however, has probably had less benefit from Arabian blood than has the Manipuri, which is by far superior, more elegant, and much faster. Nevertheless, the Burmese is extremely will adapted to its environment and lifestyle and makes an excellent working pony. They are extremely surefooted and ideally suited to mountainous areas, which makes them excellent pack and trekking ponies. They are also quite able to traverse areas not suitable for vehicles.

Their quiet and willing personality makes them ideal for tourist trekking, children, and novices alike. The Burmese is sturdy and tough, has good stamina, and is resistant to the harsh climate of their mountainous environment. At one time they were used by the British colonials as polo ponies, but it is generally thought that this was through a shortage of other better breeds. Although the Burmese pony is reliable, especially for mountain work, they are not particularly fast or athletic, and the Manipuri is considered a much better polo prospect.

In appearance the Burmese is a rather unstartling pony to look at, being a more functional than aesthetic type. They tend to have a fine head with a straight profile and good width through the forehead. The neck is muscular and in proportion to the body, and is set to a muscular but often long back. The withers are not pronounced, and the shoulders are straight, which produces a short stride that is useful in the mountainous terrain. They have deep, wide chests and have a strong, sloping croup. Their legs are strong but fine, and their hooves are small and hard. They can be brown, bay, black, chestnut, or gray, and stand approximately 13 hh.


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