Name of breed: Kabarda
Country of origin: Former USSR (Russia and Georgia)
Breed origin: The Kabarda horse breed has been known for at least 400 years, but its origins are possibly as old as the Hittite civilisation. It has been bred since the 16th century by mountain tribesmen in northern Caucasus, and is the product of centuries of selective breeding for the ability to survive in harsh conditions. The breed was formed from a combination of steppe horses: the Karabakh, the Arabian and the Turkoman (today’s Akhal-Teke).
Distinguishing features: Kabarda horses are known for their endurance and ease to adapt in difficult environments. Standing around 14.1 to 15.1hh, these horses are primarily bay, black or gray in colour. They are a solid, cleanly built horse with a clean had, well-muscled neck, deep chest and sloping shoulders. Interestingly the Kabardas’ blood has a heightened oxidising capacity, useful for work in the mountains. They are also known to be easy keepers i.e. they can accumulate fat quickly which is extremely helpful when they are exposed to extreme weather conditions on a regular basis.
There are three main subtypes of the Kabarda breed:
- Basic type – a typical mountain riding horse that is well-muscled.
- Oriental type – shows a more Arabian influence with thinner legs and hotter temperaments.
- Massive type – a bigger horse with a more robust bone structure similar to a typical carriage horse.
Modern day Kabarda: Mainly used as a saddle horse, the Kabarda also work well in harness and as a pack horse. The mountain tribesmen of the Caucasus make hay on the steep slopes in the area by hitching the horses to the horse-drawn mowers. Kabarda horses are also used as a sport horse outside of Russia because they are usually fast and with good endurance levels.