Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

Caspian Horse

In 1965, Louise Firouz, an intrepid American woman in Iran who operated an equestrian center for children, was determined to find a small pony rumored to have been seen near the Caspian Sea. She completed her mission, but what she found were not ponies. Instead, Firouz had inadvertently rediscovered the Caspian horse, a breed that is small in stature, but otherwise shares the characteristics of a horse. The breed was once prized in the ancient Persian empire, but had fallen off the historical record in the 1,000+ years since. After DNA testing confirmed the horses' ancestry, Firouz established a breeding program to ensure their survival. Though political turmoil in Iran made progress difficult, in the end, she was successful and, though Caspian horses are still rare, today they can be found in parts of the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Australia.