Karabair on Azerbaijan Stamp
|Country of origin:||Uzbekistan|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
The Karabair breed is a very old breed based on ancient stock that has been documented as being in the Uzbekistan area before the Christian era.
Although the Karabair was recorded as a unique breed in ancient Chinese writings, who described them as "flying horses," It is likely that the Karabair developed through a mixture of Arabian and Mongol blood, later influenced by the desert horse breeds from neighbouring countries, such as the Turkomene. Uzbekistan's nomadic peoples were the principal breeders of the Karabair, and their wide-ranging travels account for the number of different breeds which have influenced the development of the Karabair. The Karabair is similar to the Arabian, especially in its toughness and endurance, speed and agility, although the Karabair is somewhat taller.
The horse is a fairly central element of life to the Uzbekistan people and is used for riding and driving, as well as in the ridden game of Kokpar. Kokpar is a ferocious game which centres over gaining possession of a dead goat carcass - there are few rules and many injuries, and the Karabair with its bravery and speed is used almost exclusively to play.
The Karabair developed in three different types, all of similar height--a light draft type, suitable for pack and riding, a heavy draft type, and a lighter riding horse. However, today although there is less distinction between the types; the heavier type has almost disappeared, and the other two types have merged.
In appearance, they have the conformation of a stocky oriental horse, but with distinct features. They tend to have a small, but attractive head with a straight profile, and a well-muscled neck of good length. They have a somewhat narrow chest, but deep lung capacity and sloping, muscular shoulders. The body frame is lean and wiry with no fleshiness, and a thin, fine skin. They have a short compact back, and quite sloping quarters. Often they appear to be more developed in the front half than in the quarters. The legs are quite fine, but strong with very hard hooves. Generally they are gray, bay or chestnut and stand between 14.2 and 15 hands (58 to 60 inches, 147 to 152 cm) high.
- The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies