Horse Breed: Estonian Horse

Name of breed: Estonian Horse

Country of origin: Estonia

Breed origin: The Estonian Horse is from the small country of Estonia on the shores of the Baltic Sea, south of Finland. The breed was once known as the Klepper with records that date back many years; the breed was mentioned as far back as the 11th century by a German chronicler. In the 19th century, there were attempts to develop the breed into a suitable harness horse with success.

Several studs were founded over the years including one on the mainland of Estonia in 1856 as well as two on the island of the coast called Saaremaa in 1870 and in 1902 that focused on creating a heavier working horse. The Estonian Native Horse Society was founded in 1921 and thirteen stallions were used to increase the height of the breed and to introduce markings and colour variations to some success.

Distinguishing features: When the Estonian Horse is under saddle, they are energetic but at the same time sensible and calm. Their stride and trot is wide and swinging and these horses range in height up to 14.1hh. The breed comes in a variety of colours including chestnut, bay, black, grey and even the occasional dun.

The conformation of the breed is similar to any other galloway (horses that range from 14 to 15 hands in height) except for its super long back. The head of the breed is mostly straight with a large forehead and short ears that lead to a thick neck to low withers. The legs of the Estonian Horse are short but correct and they have strong and clean joints that end in hardy and well-shaped hooves.

Modern day Estonian Horse: The Estonian Horse breed is a popular horse for children and riding school horses and excels in showjumping, dressage as well as eventing. The breed is still used in harness as well as light agricultural work.

Reference: Horse Encyclopedia Book

Image credit: am- Tihuse, pm and main – Estonian Native Horse, Feature – Estonian Horses,


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