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August 17, 2017

Crazy horses! They may look like Shetland ponies but these tiny Yakuts love running across frozen Siberian wasteland despite bone-chilling temperatures of -50C


  • Yakut horses can live and graze all year round without any protection from Siberia’s harsh winters 
  • Animals are around 150cm tall and are similar to Shetland ponies, with their thick manes and heavy hair coats
  • Yakut horses are used for their meat and milk, and their warm coat can be turned into clothes

With the outside temperature a bone-chilling -50C, it is one of the most frozen places on earth – and miles away from the rouble crisis and a new ‘Cold War’ engulfing Russia.

But sinking thermometers do not bother one breed of special horses which are oblivious to the fact their environment is even colder than the North Pole.

24209F6500000578-0-Exposed_to_the_elements_The_most_northern_breed_in_the_world_the-a-42_1418848732426

And while their human farm herders layer up to cope with the extreme Siberian elements, the little Yakuts love nothing more than running about the frozen wastelands, without even the need for a blanket to keep them warm

Frozen: The cold never bothered these tiny Yakut horses, who are oblivious to the fact they inhabit one of the most frozen places on earth While their human farm herders layer up to cope with the extreme Siberian elements, the little Yakuts love nothing more than running about the frozen wastelands, without even the need for a blanket to keep them warm  With very thick and long hair, resilient skin and a layer of fat, they are the most frost resistant of all known breeds – and they simply have to be since they live harshest climate in Russia The most northern breed in the world, the Yakut horse somehow manages to live outdoors and graze all year round without any protection from the harsh cold

The most northern breed in the world, the Yakut horse somehow manages to live outdoors and graze all year round without any protection from the harsh cold. 24209F8C00000578-0-image-a-20_1418847723911

With very thick and long hair, resilient skin and a layer of fat, they are the most frost resistant of all known breeds – and they simply have to be since they live harshest climate in Russia.  With the winter sun setting on the horizon, they appear happy to gather and socialise in herds on the icy wastelands.

The pictures were taken by photographer Maria Vasilyeva during a visit to an agricultural cooperative in the village of Abaga, about 140 miles from the city Yakutsk.

‘It was lower than -50C,’ she told  ‘Maybe you think it is not so easy to shoot pictures at such temperatures, but as for me there are no difficulties.

‘I was born in Yakutia and got used to the frosts. 24209F4100000578-0-The_cold_never_bothered_these-a-40_1418848646872

‘It was a kind of creative impulse, to go there and make these pictures. I love my homeland and sometimes, we want to feel unity with nature. We love nature deeply. .

No matter the weather, both the workers and the animals have to spend a lot of time outdoors. In the summer temperatures can reach a high of 30C, while in winter the mercury regularly plummets lower than -40C – an astonishing difference of 70 degrees or more ‘It was fantastic to be out and picture those horses.’

The agricultural cooperative was established in 2002 for breeding purposes and at the moment the facility has more than 200 horses and the same number of cows. No matter the weather, both the workers and the animals have to spend a lot of time outdoors. In the summer temperatures can reach a high of 30C, while in winter the mercury regularly plummets lower than -40C – an astonishing difference of 70 degrees or more.24209F6C00000578-0-All_weathers_No_matter_the_weather_both_the_workers_and_the_anim-a-50_1418849045841

And it can get lower still to around minus 60C. In December when frosts are at their worst, the men check their herds and make sure the animals have enough food, and have not fallen ill. As the images show, though, it’s clear that the horses fare better in the cold climate than the farm workers.

The Yakut horse averages about 150cm in height and shares a number of obvious similarities with the Shetland pony, including its sturdy nature, thick mane and heavy hair coat24209F4100000578-0-The_cold_never_bothered_these-a-40_1418848646872

Its winter hair reaches about 10cm in length, and the horse also has a very thick busy tail and a long mane that not only covers its neck but its shoulders. They are particularly good at foraging for food on their own and can even reach grass from under the snow, using their hooves to dig beneath the frozen ground.

Yakut horses are used for their meat and milk, while their warm coat can be turned into clothes. The local government is trying to increase their numbers in the region to 200,000 by 2020 as part of a scheme to also attract more young people to work as herders.

While temperatures of minus 50C are expected again over the next few days in the region, forecasters say it will be a warmer minus 25C at the North Pole.

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