Name of breed: Namib Desert Horse or Namib Wild Horse
Country of origin: Namibia, Africa
Breed origin: The origin of the Namib Desert Horse is unclear although there are several theories on how they came to be; a genetics test was performed but it did not verify the origins. The most plausible theory is that their ancestors were riding and cavalry horses (of German descent) that were released in the early 20th century around the time of World War One.
During the 1990s they were seen as a threat to the ecosystem by destroying the native animal’s habitats. Several times during this period, a number of the horses were removed from the herd and sold. Since then, close records have been kept of the breed and studies have been performed on how they affect the environment around them.
Distinguishing features: To survive in the desert, the Namib Desert horses had to adapt to the harsh environment- and quickly! The horses have this ability to have an above average muscle tone and weight despite living where there is little food and water. Even during the severe droughts of the area, the overall physique of the breed decreases only by a little. Even when they are at the height of a drought, the breed still looks like a well-bred riding horse with their skin and coat.
The main colour of this breed is bay with only a few of them being either chestnut or brown and many have dorsal stripes running down their backs. The breed’s conformation has very few deformities and they are very athletic and muscular with clean limbs and strong bones. The head of the Namib Desert horse bears striking resemblance to German horse breeds (I’m thinking the Westphalian)
Modern day Namib Desert Horse: However they came to the Namib Desert, this wild horse breed now lives on the Garub Plains near a man-made water source. The Namib Desert Horse has a very small population, between 90 to 150 horses, thus being classified as rare and only a few have been domesticated into riding horses.
Image credit: Horse Breeds Information, Africa Geographic, Janine Lessing, Namibia Reservations