Novokirghiz Horse: Traits, History and Characteristics

Novokirghiz or New Kirghiz horses were first created during the mid-20th century in Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, now Kyrgyzstan. This breed resulted from crossbreeding indigenous Kyrgyz Horses with Thoroughbred, Don, and Anglo-Don breeds to combine resilience with speed, strength and endurance characteristics from these breeds; its purpose being to enhance local horse characteristics by creating something distinctive and special like Novokirghiz horses that had these features all in one package!

The Novokirghiz horse quickly established itself as an exceptional, multipurpose specimen suited to Kyrgyzstan’s diverse climates and terrain. A product of modern breeding techniques as well as traditional breeding heritage, its existence represents a major milestone in regional equine history.

History and Development of Novokirghiz Horse Breed:

A comprehensive description of Novokirghiz horses’ history and development can be drawn out using point-by-point descriptions:

Origin and Development In the mid-20th Century, Novokirghiz cattle were initially raised on communal farms within Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic as part of Soviet Russia.

Cross-Breeding Strategy: Our breeding program employed an approach incorporating crossbreeding of Kyrgyz Horses with various other breeds such as Thoroughbreds, Dons and Anglo-Dons; there was also some incorporation of Turcoman and Kabarda stock into our breeding efforts.

Resemblance to Don Horses: The Novokirghiz closely resembled the Don breed in appearance.

Enhancing Physical Traits: Novokirghiz were larger, faster, heavier, and more powerful than traditional Kyrgyz horses.

Adaptation: Although their physical conditioning had improved, these horses failed to retain the same degree of adaptation to Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous terrain.

Varieties Within the Breed: This breed has three primary types; an original/standard type, saddle type type and heavy type.

Notable Accomplishments

Banket, a Symbol of Endurance: Born in 1946, Banket became a living testament of endurance by winning a 500 km, five day race through mountainous terrain and carrying 100 kilograms over five days.

Naryn State Collective Horses Have Completed 110 Kilometers: Each carrying 150 kilograms, these horses from Naryn’s state collective successfully covered 110 kilometers on mountainous paths within 11 hours.

Recognition and Population Studies:

Official Recognition and Stud-Book: In 1954, the breed was officially recognized and a stud book created to keep track of breeding.

Population Census in 1980: This census recorded more than 114,000 horses, or nearly half the horse population in Kirghiz SSR at that time, while another report suggested 56,500 residents during 1980.

By 2002: Kirghiz SSR’s population had more than doubled to approximately 285,000 residents.

Conservation Status: While in 2007, the FAO listed this breed as non-threatened, by 2022 their status in DAD-IS had changed to unknown, suggesting potential population shifts or the absence of current data.


The Novokirghiz horse breed from Kyrgyzstan stands out due to its small stature but robust and agile build. When first breeding programs began in 1987, these horses typically stood between 143 cm to 151 cm at their withers – although by 1989 this average height had increased up to around 155 cm! Stallions averaged an impressive height of 156 cm while mares were slightly shorter with averages between 150-155 cm!

Novokirghiz are known for their striking, elegant appearance with coat colors of either bay or chestnut dominating their coat, creating an eye-catching presence and underscoring their genetic diversity and adaptability.

Comparative to its original Kirghiz horse counterparts, Novokirghiz displays marked increases in size, weight, speed and power compared to their more rustic predecessors. Unfortunately however, these physical improvements somewhat compromised its natural adaptation for mountainous terrains in Kyrgyzstan.

Within the Novokirghiz breed, three main subspecies have been recognized, each possessing unique features. They are:

Original or Standard Type: This breed-typical variety preserves many of its traditional characteristics while offering an ideal combination of size and agility.

The Saddle Type: Crafted specifically for riding, this saddle type combines comfort and endurance – ideal for long journeys or trekking adventures.

Heavy or Massive Type: As its name implies, this type features an especially robust and muscular build suitable for heavy-duty tasks or agricultural work.

Novokirghiz horses have long been recognized for their versatility, with many types exhibiting specific traits through selective breeding programs. Thanks to this heritage breed’s wide range of qualities and versatile applications in Kyrgyzstan ranging from agriculture and sports.

Uses of the Novokirghiz Horse:

The Novokirghiz horse, developed in Kyrgyzstan, has proven itself versatile and strong over its history, serving various purposes in Kyrgyzstan and beyond. Here are a few uses:

Novokirghiz horses have long been used in agriculture due to their robust build. Plowing and other agricultural tasks showcase their usefulness in rural settings.

Transportation: Kyrgyzstan’s rugged terrain calls upon horses for reliable transportation solutions, with their ability to traverse uneven landscapes making them invaluable tools in moving both goods and people to less accessible regions.

Trekking and Tourism: Due to their resilience and pleasant temperament, Kyrgyz horses make excellent mounts for trekking and horseback tourism; an emerging market in Kyrgyzstan. Guided tours may use them to offer tourists an exclusive way of discovering Kyrgyzstan’s landscapes.

Herding: Kyrgyzstan has long relied upon horses for herding livestock, making these horses essential to its rural lifestyle. Thanks to their ability to cover long distances and adapt to varied climatic conditions, these horses play an indispensable role in managing herds across vast pastures.

Temperament of a Novokirghiz Horse: The Novokirghiz horse is famed for both its physical attributes and exceptional temperament:

Calm and Steady: These horses are known for their calm and steady disposition, making them suitable for riders of all levels–beginners included.

Obedient and Trainable: Their eagerness to obey and ease of training make them ideal companions for various equestrian activities. Their responsiveness to commands makes them the go-to option when selecting horses for riding activities.

Novokirghiz horses, true to their heritage, display natural hardiness and resilience that allows them to withstand harsh weather or demanding environments without becoming unsettled or unsettled by anything that comes their way.

Adaptable: This breed is highly adaptable, flourishing in any setting from bustling equestrian sports to rural farm life.

Novokirghiz horses exhibit strong social and cooperative behaviors within a herd setting, working well together and integrating well with other horses – essential elements in activities like herding or team sports.

Novokirghiz horses have numerous uses and boast admirable temperaments that underscore their value, making them highly prized breeds in Kyrgyzstan as well as abroad.