The Konik Horse is a primitive horse breed originating in Poland. Like many of the primitive horse breeds they exhibit the typical markings including a dun coat occasional primitive striping on the legs and withers with dorsal stripe on their backs.
The Konik horse has been involved in several attempts to recreate the Tarpan horse which became extinct in the early 19 hundreds. The Polish government to position of all Konik courses that exhibited the wild primitive Tarpan features, and released these into the wild in a selective breeding program in many nature reserves and parks across Poland.
The area of the breeding programs are open to the public who are advised not to approach the horses as they are wild animals and the behaviour can be unpredictable.
The Konik horse is in fact a pony rarely exceeding 135 cm at the withers or 13.1 hands. Typical of the primitive horse breeds they are stocky and strong in the light head in a straight profile, the neck emerging from low out of the chest. Chest is deep maned the hair coat is blue dun or sometimes called mouse grey.
Along with deer, the wisent(a type of EuropeanBison) and Heck Cattle, the konik are big grazers. They keep the landscape open, and when kept without supplemental winter feeding a more natural forest evolves.
Koniks have also been introduced in Latvia and the United Kingdom and because of the success of such programs. Koniks have been introduced into the Wicken Fen near Cambridge by the National Trust.
Whilst primitive breeds of horse can be seen in the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, you won’t find any being ridden or bred in Australia, and in any case they are not suitable as pets – they are closer in temperament to a Zebra than a horse and are almost impossible to domesticate.