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The Yakutian Horse
Far, far away from here, at the other end of the world, lives a hairy little horse by the name of Yakut. It lives in a frozen country called Yakutia, in eastern Siberia, and is the only horse which can survive within the Arctic Circle.
It is always amazing to note how the horse has been able to adapt to such incredibly different and hostile climates that it defies belief. Think of the desert horses of Namibia and South Africa, one of the cruelest in the world, or the Sable Island horses on the Atlantic coast, battered by wind and tides throughout the year. But who could have imagined that above the Arctic Circle a breed of horses could exist, able to endure temperatures ranging from 40o C (104o F) in summer to –60o C (-76o F) during the long Arctic winter months?
The breed averages 14.3 hands in height. Although it is considered as a horse and not a pony, the typical Yakut is rather small and compact, with a straight neck and short, wide feet, a direct result of its adaptation to the extreme climate to which it is exposed. In addition to this compact conformation which retains heat better, he is endowed with a very thick mane and tail and an exceptionally thick winter coat. His body mass becomes completely rounded during the short summer months, a sign that it is accumulating fat which will help it to survive the long winter months, during which it can lose as much as 20% of its weight!