The Novokirghiz Horse is a relatively new breed of horse developed in the 1930s in Kirghizia. It replaced the Old Kirghiz, which was a mountain breed from the high altitudes of Kirghizia and Kazakhstan mainly from Mongolian stock.
The Novokirghiz is faster and more refined, mainly due to the infusions of Thoroughbred, Russian Don and Anglo-Don horses crossed with the Old Kirghiz. By 1918, 48 Thoroughbreds were imported to the Issyk-Kul stud and were used to breed with Old Kirghiz mares. The breed became fixed in the 1930s and 1940s, due to the repeated crossings between the Old Kirghiz, Thoroughbred, and Don and interbreeding of the offspring. These horses developed into three types: the saddle, the massive, and the basic. The massive type was the most successful of the three, being the most versatile and well adapted to the environment.
The Novokirghiz is tough and useful in harness, for riding, and for agricultural work. They are strong and frequently used as pack horses in the mountains. The saddle and basic type were less-suited for the mountain climate, and lacked the stamina of the massive type. Now there is less of a distinctive difference between the three types, with a single, improved type in existence. The breed is very able to cope with any kind of terrain, and is tough, strong, with great endurance and an energetic temperament. The mares are used for milk, which is fermented and turned into koumiss, a major staple of the local people?s diet. Mares are fairly infertile, attributed to the great amount of Thoroughbred blood added to the breed.
The horses have a small, neat head, muscular neck, sloping shoulders, pronounced withers, longish back and sloping hindquarters. The legs are usually quite short that are strong and muscular, although sickle hocks are frequently seen. The animals are usually bay, brown, gray or chestnut, and stand between 14 and 15 hh.