Stud-book of Origin of Hucul Horses


I. Preliminary remark

Rules and directives for breeding organisations of the European Union in accordance with the Commission Decision 92/353/EEC of 11 June 1992, which includes the criteria for recognition or legalisation of breeding organisations and breeders’ associations, which establish studbooks for acknowledged horses of the Hucul breed.

II. Introduction

  1. “Polish Horse Breeders Association” – Warsaw was recognised as a breeding organisation, which keeps the Stud-Book of Origin of Hucul Breed, on the basis of the above decision of the European Union
  2. The Stud-Book of Origin of Hucul Breed is kept with the consent of central organisation “Hucul International Federation” (HIF) and by order of General Management of the department for Customer Protection and Animal Breeding of the European Commission

III. Aims

The Stud-Book of Origin of Hucul Breed is kept in close co-operation with Hucul International Federation (HIF) and aims at achieving the following goals.

  1. Preservation of the breed
  2. Preservation of original features, such as immunity, lack of fastidiousness, gentleness, intelligence and endurance
  3. Maintenance of various possibilities of use
  4. Consistence of breeding work on the European scale

IV. Directives

“Polish Horse Breeders Association” established, with the consent of HIF in accordance with point 3b of the Appendix to the Decision 92/353/EEC, the following directives:

  1. Entry of origin / Criteria for entry to the stud-book
    1. Name of the horse
      1. Horse is named on the basis of tradition of the country it is bred in. These rules must be recorded in the studbook.
      2. Name of a horse should be determined while making the entry of foals.
      3. Name of a horse is an important element of its identification and, in accordance with the Council Directive 90/427/EEC, it cannot be changed.
      4. It seems advisable to provide a second name. It should be given after the name of the horse, in parenthesis.
      5. In order to distinguish horses with the same name, their stud names should also be provided. It is for the benefit of the breeder.
      6. The task of providing stud names belongs to recognised Breeding Organisations in accordance with the directives, which prevent their multiple use.
      7. At the time of electrical marking of a horse, the code of a microchip cannot substitute the name of the horse.
    2. Data related to the horse’s birth
      1. date of birth
      2. place of birth
      3. country
      4. breeder
      5. sex
      6. colour determination
    3. Graphic and word description of a horse, in accordance with the Council Directive 90/427/EEC
      The following identification features should be taken into account while marking a horse, either by means of number branding, or by means of microchips, because, as we know from experience, the coat of horses living in freedom is so thick that branding is not always legible, while electronic chips may disappear, or they may be intentionally removed or changed.

      1. variety (shape and size)
      2. distinct partings and parting symphysis on the head (forehead), trunk, legs
      3. colour of the trunk, mane, legs and hoofs
      4. dorsal band, zebra stripes
      5. peculiarities
    4. Measures
      Horses are measured not only for identification, but also in order to provide information about their built (shape), development, possibility of use, possible burdening of the animal. The last element is determined on the basis of knee’s circumference. The following measures should refer to adult individuals:

      1. stick measure: withers, back, croup and possibly the length of a horse, whose lines are to be verified
      2. tape-measure: girth’s, cannon’s and knee’s circumference.
    5. Marking/Branding/Microchips
      1. the purpose of horse marking, as well as their graphic and word description, is their identification.
      2. the rules of marking by recognised breeding organisations must correspond to the legal standards of breeding of a given country, and must correspond to the regulations concerning preservation of animals
      3. branding by recognised breeding organisations must be univocally attributable, i.e. they must be clearly different from brandings of other breeding organisations
      4. form and position of brandings, as well as the letters and numbers used should be represented graphically and in words
      5. electronic marking should not be limited only to coding, but also the register of used chips should be kept.
    6. Verification of origin
      Since 2002 it has been necessary to submit the results of blood group analysis and the results of DNA analysis in order to protect or to verify the origin. They are submitted together with an application for the licence or entry to the studbook.
    7. Origin/ Generations back
      1. a horse may be admitted as a breeding horse of this breed only if at least 5 generations back are documented from the mother’s and the father’s side.
      2. certification of origin (confirmation of origin) must comprise at least 5 generations back
      3. total documentation of predecessors should be made electronically
      4. offspring of hybrids cannot be regarded as breeding animals, because for centuries only acknowledged horses, maintained in pure breed have been used for further breeding
      5. in order to record the origin in the passport of horses it suffices to provide two generations back, even if only one certification of origin is issued. The numbers of horses’ passports should be registered, providing consecutive number, together with the certification of horse’s purpose (for slaughter/ not for slaughter).
    8. Further information included in the entry of origin
      1. name of a recognised breeding organisation, or recognised breeders’ association of this breed
      2. name and signature of a person authorised to sign, as well as the place and date of issuance
      3. date of admission or entry, as well as the date and cause of death
      4. it is a section of a studbook, depending on its division. Moreover, possibly the section concerning breeding value.
      5. the number of entry or the number of breeding book, number of horses’ passport and possibly the number of a microchip
  2. Description of the breed
    1. Historical description
      Hucul horses were first mentioned in professional writings as early as in 1613. Breeding was then in private hands, and documentation concerning its origin was rather scarce. Only since 1856, after the establishment of the first national stud in Łuczyn, today in Romania, matings have been regularly recorded.
    2. Features and utility
      Particular virtues of Hucul horses, such as immunity, lack of fastidiousness, gentleness, intelligence and firm paces contributed to their widespread use. Hucul horse served people as an enduring labour horse in farms, particularly in mountainous areas. Because it was reliable, it was often used in transport.
      Particular features of Hucul horses and diversity of their use created a small horse, which was ideal for mountainous conditions and did not require a whole year’s stable breeding. Also the army got interested in this horse. It started to be used as a saddle-horse, draught-horse or heavy cart-horse.
    3. Area of origin
      The area of origin is Hucul region, spreading over the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, which by 1918 had belonged to Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. After the First World War this area was divided between Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic. After 1945 a part of former Hucul region fell even to Ukraine, which at some point belonged to the Soviet Union.
    4. Countries breeding Hucul horses:
      At present various national studs and recognised Breeding Associations in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria occupy with the breeding of Hucul horses.
    5. Use:
      Also nowadays Hucul horses are bred in order to perform various works related to farming, and also, due to their firm pace, they are also used as heavy cart-horses. It is a versatile saddle-horse, used also as a carriage-horse. It is becoming more and more popular. Therefore it has already been adopted as a saddle-horse in Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain and Finland.
    6. External appearance/ features typical for this breed
      Although initially three basic types of the Hucul horse could be distinguished, there is, despite certain differences, a big similarity in external appearance and build.

      • massive, harmonious conformation, deep chest, well-sprung ribs. Girth’s circumference has on average about 170 cm, it is at least 25 cm more than in case of the height at withers,
      • thick mane, neck is well-set and strong, but too short
      • clearly defined, harmonious line of the back, and rectangular lines make riding more comfortable
      • well-muscled croup, strong hind legs make it a good carriage horse, but also help to move in a difficult area
      • a very strong constitution. Strong joints and tendons enable to bear heavy loads. Average cannon’s circumference is 18 cm, and knee’s circumference is 29 cm.
      • Particularly hard, healthy and well-formed hoofs of an average size do not require frequent shoeing
      • Average height measured by means of stick-measure is 140 cm, tape-measure indicates 8 cm more
      • Results of measurements obviously depend on sex, quality of forage, and on various types or male lines.
    7. Basic types
      Hucul horse, as a breed originating from the area of Carpathian Mountains, descends directly from a European wild horse, tarpan, which was initially crossed not only with indigenous horses, e.g. ponies, but also with Przewalski horse (Kertak). Later on, breeding was influenced by Arabian and Ardene horses, and also by horses with Nordic blood.
      Initially for a long time 3 basis types were clearly distinguished:

      • type Tarpan – Hucul showed features of mountainous tarpans, living in Carpathian Mountains
      • type Bystrzyc – Hucul, originating from the cross of tarpan with a pony
      • type Przewalski – Hucul shows the influence of a cross with Mongolian and Tatar horses.These hoses are a kind of a relic of bloody riots from the past.

      The first two types differed between one another slightly, whereas the last type, Przewalski – Hucul type, showed significant differences. Nevertheless, the three basic types have a very similar line and build. Almost all types display typical signs of a wild horse: dorsal band, zebra stripes and sloping croup.

    8. Male lines
      Because different breeds of horses were used, the differences between these initial types of Hucul horse diminished in later breeding. Nevertheless, seven genealogically different male foundation stocks were created over the years:

      • Hrobe foundation stock:
        It was named after a foundation sire called Hroby, bom in 1898. It was used for breeding in the beginning of the twenties across die whole Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
      • Goral foundation stock:
        Originates from a foundation sire called Goral, bom in 1898. It was also used for breeding across the whole Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
      • Gurgul foundation stock
        It originates from a foundation sire called Gurgul, bom in 1924 in Slovakia
      • Polan foundation stock
        Polan was bom in 1929 in Poland.
      • Ousor foundation stockFoundation sire bom in 1933 in Romania, created side strain of Goral
      • Pietrosu foundation stock
        Further side strain of Goral was created by a foundation sire called Pietrosu, bom in 1933 in Romania
      • Prislop foundation stock
        Foundation sire was Prislop, bom in 1933 in Romania, which also represents Goral foundation stock.
    9. Colour of Hucul horses
      Despite crossing with various breeds, Hucul horses nowadays frequently show signs of a wild horse:
      Dorsal band together with possible bands on legs and sometimes also a sloping croup. Horses, regardless of their colour significantly inherit these features. The animals which display these features are, in broad terms, called dun coloured. Only after further cross-breeding with other breeds individuals with simple colours may appear.
      In the breeding of Hucul horses, the following colours are admitted:

      • Bay colour.
        This colours is widespread in all its shades, it is often accompanied by a light mouth. The coat is black. Also legs may be black, sometimes even up to hocks and knees.
      • Black:
        Black colour can also be found in Hucul horses.
      • Dun coloured:
        Many horses constantly display signs of a wild horse. This colour can be found in many varieties. We distinguish bay-dun coloured (various shades), mouse-coloured (grey-dun coloured), ginger-dun coloured and sometimes also dun-skewbald.
      • Chestnut:
        This colour is rarely found in Hucul horses
      • Skewbald:
        Skewbald colour appeared probably by means of oriental blood infusion to Hucul horses

      Grey and isabella coloured horses, due to their Arabian origin, were eliminated.

  3. Breeding aims
    1. The target of breeding is a Hucul horse with a reliable character, average height, correct build good constitution, with firm pace, suitable for a whole year’s life in a herd (without stable breeding). It should have predispositions for a saddle-horse and carriage-horse, it should be suitable for use in sports by adults, but also depending on individuals, for youth and children. Target shape is rectangular with 132 cm tol48 cm of height.
    2. In the process of breeding natural immunity of horses should be worked out, by keeping them for a whole year in the open, without stable breeding, but also by feeding them with grass and hay. As a result, late maturing horses have prolonged vitality. The age in which the horse is entered in the studbook, or the age in which the stallion is acknowledged (by granting a licence) should generally be four years. Performance tests should concern only five year old horses. In single cases, after establishing breeding maturity (phenotype, size of an adult individual), it is possible even for a three year old horse to be entered into the studbook.
  4. Stud-book
    1. Keeping a stud-book
      1. Into the stud-book all breeding animals and all offspring are entered. Horses are accepted after the control of origin is performed on the basis of age, sex, pedigree and breeding assessment. An entry is made in accordance with point IV of the first section under different entries, taking into account all important data.
      2. Stud-books are kept separately for stallions and mares.
      3. In case of a stud-book kept electronically, a separate print-out is necessary, i.e. separate assessment is necessary.
    2. Stud-book division
      Stud-book of breeding organisation of Hucul horses is divided into at least:

      1. Book of foals = register of foals
        1. All foals are entered into the book of foals, i.e. all offspring of acknowledged breeding horses.
        2. Foals of Hucul horses or offspring of acknowledged breed should be entered in a separate section of a register of foals, separately from the entry of foals of mixed breed or their offspring from an unacknowledged breeding.
        3. Foals of Hucul horses or offspring from acknowledged breeding may be entered in accordance with the assessment of their breeding material in appropriate age classes.
        4. For the purpose of an appropriate interpretation of the value of breeding material, only foals of Hucul horses or offspring from acknowledged breed may be entered
      2. Stud-book of offspring = register of offspring, or the register of saddle-horses:
        Into the book of offspring only adult individuals, whose parents do not meet the requirements of entry into the studbook of breeding organisations, can be entered.

        1. Geldings from the pure-breed breeding
        2. offspring of horses, which have only 50% of Hucul blood
      3. Main section of the stud-book
        1. International breeding organisations of Hucul horses associated in HIF agreed that the main section of the stud-book is closed.
        2. Main section of the stud-book should be closed by 1 January 2000
        3. International breeding organisations reached an agreement that only the following horses of Hucul breed can be entered into the main section of the stud-book:
          1. horses with a perfect documentation of origin
          2. breeding horses with a perfect origin at least five generations back
          3. breeding mares, which due to historical reasons of development of this breed in the fifth generation show gaps. In case of these mares, only two ancestors in male and female lines in the fifth generation may be missing.
        4. breeding horses, which do not meet the requirements necessary for the entry to the main section of the stud-book should be entered to their own book (additional book or a register of origin).
        5. Main section of the stud-book may be kept in different sub-sections, which take into account breeding value of horses, their or their offspring’s achievements, or also include criteria of origin.
      4. Additional stud-book = register of origin
        1. The following breeding horses should be entered in the register of origins:
          • breeding horses, which have gaps in origin in the fifth generation back, and their offspring
          • acknowledged breeding horses, which due to certain deficiencies cannot be entered to the chief studbook. Horses, whose features could have a negative impact on breeding, and even endanger it, e.g. horses with breeding assessment much below average, due to hereditary deficiencies (monthly blindness, silver eye, summer eczema and others), features which decrease breeding value (e.g. faults in formation, constitution, summer eczema)
          • offspring of horses, described above = “horses from unacknowledged breeding”
          • hybrids, which only have 50% of Hucul blood.
        2. All offspring of “horses from the register of origin,” regardless of the number of generations, are regarded as horses from unacknowledged breeding, and therefore mustn’t be entered into the chief book of breeding organisations.
        3. Possible performance or breeding assessments of horses from the register of origin cannot have any impact on breeding value of their ancestors. It means that they cannot have neither a positive, nor a negative impact on the breeding value of their parents.
        4. Horses from the register of origin mustn’t represent their breed on sports events.
  5. Registers
    1. Registers provide clear information about the entry of horses, which are made in different parts or sections of a stud-book.
    2. Different registers should include all important information about horses, necessary at the time of their entry to the stud-book.
    3. If the stud-book is kept electronically, separate print-outs or separate analyses of different registers in one program must be made.
    4. The following registers should be kept, taking into account different sub-sections, also by means of electronic systems
      • register of foals
      • register of offspring or saddle-horses
      • register of stallions
      • register of mares
      • register of mating
      • register of foaling
      • register of origin and possibly
      • register of performance
  6. Performance tests
    1. In the spirit of breeding progress, performance tests should be made for breeding horses, even if it is not provided for by breeding directives of individual member states.
    2. For the benefit of “quality control” of breeding, such tests should also be made for the rearing
    3. Performance tests should include a competition in saddle-riding, dressage test, carriage test and efficiency test
    4. Performance tests passed in one member state should be recognised, if they meet minimum requirements in their own country. It also refers to the acknowledgement of purchased or leased stallions.
  7. Sports events
    1. As far as possible, breeding organisations should encourage participation of breeding horses and their offspring in sports events.
    2. Successes of breeding horses and their rearing in sports events serve as a kind of “quality control” of breeding work and should be taken into account.
    3. Participation of horses from the register of origin (hybrids, horses from unacknowledged breeding) in competitions for Hucul horses is allowed only as part of separate competitions.
    4. For the purpose of maintenance of the breed, successes and failures of horses from the register of origin should not be taken into account in breeding work

Final remarks

  1. All breeding organisations, which deal with the breeding of Hucul horses, are obliged to subordinate their breeding means to the following aims:
    1. Maintenance of a traditional breed of Hucul horses, whose existence is extremely endangered, and which constitutes a value of European culture.
    2. Further development of the breed without any losses in typical features of Hucul breed horses, development of particular properties and increase of various possibilities of use.
    3. Improvement of features, typical for this breed and enhancing utility value in the spirit of breeding progress.
    4. Supporting Hucul breed in the area of breeding, sport and culture by organising target events, exceeding the country area.
  2. Creating, or aiming at creating equal conditions for own breeding in the country area, taking into account appropriate directives of the European Union.
  3. Harmony in solving problems related to breeding of Hucul horses on an international level (HIF).