Caspian: Long thought extinct, the Caspian Pony was rediscovered in 1965 in a mountainous region of Northern Iran. Its origins date back from the now extict miniature horses of Mesopotamia, who lived in the region from 3,000 BCE until the 7th century. Small in stature it is actually a miniature horse not a pony, despite only reaching a maximum of 12 hands.
A breeding program was set up by the Shah of Iran, who established the Royal Horse Society at Louise and Narcy Firouz's Norouzabad Stud. In 1966 a Pure bred Stallion was imported from Iran to the United States, a long 4 day 8000 mile journey to New York. Because there was difficulty getting the stallion out of Iran only a partbred breeding program was established in the U.S. and plans to import mares were put on hold.
During the Iranian Revolution, the ponies numbers were depleted as they were used for pack horses and food. Prince Phillip shipped some of the ponies to England and in 1976 the Caspian Stud in England was formed, saving much of the foundation stock.
The combined efforts of breeders across the world have
established the breed in several European countries, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. However, breeding efforts are hindered by the fact that the mares tend not to come into season until a year after foaling.
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