Name of breed: Tokara Pony
Country of origin: Japan
Breed origin: The Tokara pony, also known as the Kagoshima pony, is a Japanese pony native to a group of islands at the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu, known as the Tokara Islands. The ponies were discovered on Takarajima, one of the Tokara Islands in 1952. In 1953 the Tokara pony was chosen as the natural monument of Kagoshima.
When Professor Shigeyuki Hayashida first discovered the ponies on the island, he counted 43. However throughout the 1960s their numbers gradually declined due to agricultural mechanisation. Because of this, some of the ponies were transferred to the Mt. Kaimon Natural Park and Iriki Farm, part of the agricultural department of Kagoshima University. By 1974, there was only one Tokara pony remaining on the Tokara Islands. This pony was transferred to Nakanoshima on the Tokaras, and was bred with Tokara ponies that were reintroduced from the mainland. There are about ten ponies currently kept at Nakanoshima. A breeding farm is now located at Takao and the pony’s population is now is slowly increasing.
Distinguishing features: The Tokara pony is generally taller than a Shetland pony, averaging between 9.3 – 11.3 hands high. Its coat colour is predominantly seal brown and it has a high tolerance for heat.
Modern day Tokara Pony: Due to its small stature, the Tokara pony is no longer in demand as a plough horse on the Tokaras or the mainland, and has limited utility as a riding horse. Because of this, finding a practical use for the Tokara pony is a problem which will affect its future protection.
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