Stud-book of Origin of Konik polski breed
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 legislation of breeding organisations and breeders’ associations, which establish studbooks for acknowledged horses of the Konik polski breed.
- “Polish Horse Breeders Association” – Warsaw was recognised as a breeding organisation, which keeps the Studbook of Origin of Konik polski breed, on the basis of the above decision of the European Union,
- The Studbook of Origin of Konik polski breed is kept with the consent and by order of General Management of the department for Customer Protection and Animal Breeding of the European Committee.
The Studbook of Origin of Konik polski breed aims at achieving the following goals:
- Preservation of the breed
- Preservation of the original features, such as resistance, low requirements as to the keeping conditions, gentleness, intelligence and endurance
- Maintenance of various possibilities of use
- Consistence of breeding work on the European scale, taking into account the maintenance of genetic variability
“Polish Horse Breeders Association” in Warsaw, Poland established, in accordance with point 3b of the Appendix to the Commission Decision 92/353/EEC, the following directives:
1. Registration of origin / Criteria for entry to the Studbook
- Name of the horse
- Horse is named on the basis of tradition of the country it is bred in. These rules must be given in the studbook.
- Name of a horse should be determined while making the description of foals.
- 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.
- In order to distinguish horses with the same name, the consecutive number should also be provided.
- In the case of electronic marking of a horse, the code of a microchip cannot substitute the name of the horse.
- Data related to the horse’s birth
- Date of birth.
- Place of birth.
- Colour determination including tint or colour variation.
- Graphic and written description of a horse, accordant with the Council Directive 90/427/EEC
The following identification features should be taken into account while marking a horse:
- markings (shape and size)
- hair whorls on the head, neck, trunk, legs
- colour of the trunk, mane, legs and hoofs
- dorsal strip, zebra stripes on legs and trunk
- peculiarities e.g. scars
- number branded or frozen (in countries where it is allowed)
- microchip number in the case when applicable
Horses are measured not only to male identification, easier but also in order to provide information about their body conformation (shape), development and possibility of use. The following measures should refer to adult individuals:
- stick measure: height at withers,
- tape measures: girth’s and cannon’s circumference of the foreleg.
- Marking / Branding / Microchips
- Horse marking, as well as their graphic and word description, serves the identification.
- 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.
- Branding by recognised breeding organisations must be univocally attributable, i.e. they must be clearly distinctive from brandings of other breeding organisations.
- From and position of brandings, as well as the letters and numbers used, should be represented graphically and in words.
- Electronic marking should not be limited only to coding, but also the register of used chips should be kept.
- Verification of parentage
Since 2000 it has been necessary to submit the results of blood group analysis or the results of DNA analysis in order to confirm or verify the parentage. They are submitted together with an application for the entry to the stud book as well as for the horse passport.
- Origin/Generations back
- A horse may be admitted as a breeding horse of this breed only if both its parents have been registered in the studbook of Konik polski breed.
- Entire documentation of predecessors can be kept using electronic system.
- Offspring of crosses with other breeds cannot be regarded as breeding animals.
- The record of the parentage in the horse passport is to be made in accordance with the country regulations.
- Further information included in the record of origin
- name of recognised breeding organisation, or recognised breeders’ association of this breed
- name and signature of a person authorised to make records of horses, as well as the place and date of making the record
- date of admission or entry in the studbook, as well as the date and cause of death
- the number of entry or the number of the studbook, number of horses’ passport and the number of microchip (if applicable)
2. Description of the breed
- Historical background
Konik polski horse is a small, native, primitive breed descending directly from the extinct wild Tarpan horse which inhabited the steppe and forest-steppe zones of Eastern and Middle-Eastern Europe. This breed evolved primarily under natural environmental conditions and retained a number of original traits characteristic for the wild ascendants. The name Konik polski was introduced into the literature in the middle of twenties by its discoverer and enthusiast Professor Tadeusz Vetulani.
- Traits and utility
Particular advantageous traits of Konik polski horses as good health, fertility, low feeding requirements, resistance to harsh environmental conditions, ability to live on their own and to adapt to different environments endurance, intelligence, and gentleness and firm gaits contributed to their widespread use. Konik horse has been used first of all as draft horse on small peasant farms. Due to its excellent endurance, relatively great draft power and good hooves Konik polski has also been used for light transport. Resistance and ability to cope with unfavourable environmental conditions make the Konik polski horse suitable for loose housing all-year round. Its ability to live close-to-nothing caused that military was interested in Konik polski horses during the World Wars I and II and used them for military off-road transport. Konik polski have also been used for recreational riding, hippotherapy, endurance rides and as companion animal. Since the eighties the Konik polski horse has been used in some European countries as grazing animal for landscape cultivation.
- Area of origin
The area of origin of Konik polski horses was Eastern part of Poland and formerly Polish Eastern territories which are belonging currently to Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. At present Konik polski horses spread all over the country, and as area of origin the whole territory of Poland may be regarded.
- Countries where Konik polski horses are bred:
Mainly Poland, to a lesser extent: the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, UK.
At present the Konik polski horse may be regarded as multi-purpose small horse suitable as draft horse for different kind of work in farming, transport, pleasure, recreational riding, hippotherapy, companion animal and landscape cultivation. The suitability of Konik polski horses for these forms of utilization have been proved in many countries.
- Body conformation and the exterior typical for the breed
As to the body conformation and exterior, among Konik polski horses both the individuals of a more primitive type with heavier heads and shorter neck and individuals of a more fine type with smaller heads, longer neck and well formed withers can be distinguished. The majority of horses however belong to an intermediate type between these two extremes. Relatively often, overbuilt (higher at croup than at withers) individuals particularly in mares can be seen. The chest is usually well developed and correctly ribbed. The belly is often hanging which is caused by consuming more roughage. According to the breeding programme a primitive type of Konik polski horse with abundant mane and tail is desirable. Less fine heads and small incorrectness of forelegs and of hind legs are allowed. The standards for height at withers are 130-140cm for stallions and mares.
- Male lines
The male lines which are distinguished in the Konik polski breed derive from 6 founder stallions:
- Liliput line
This is the oldest and the least developed male line. The founder was a mouse-coloured stallion Liliput born in 1918 from the mare Liliputka in Biłgoraj district. Liliput was the first sire introduced in 1936 into the “wild” herd of Konik polski horses within Prof. Vetulani’s experiment on reconstruction of extinct Tarpan horse in Białowieża forest.
- Wicek line
The founder Wicek of unknown origin was mated to the mare Delta and from this mating the stallion Dysk was born in 1931. Dysk sired many descendants and due to this stallion the Wicek line is regarded as the most developed male line within Konik polski breed.
- Goraj line
The mouse coloured founder Goraj was born in 1935 in Biłgoraj District. He was bought by a military commission and designated in 1938 for the Konik-Reserve in Białowieża where he sired three outstanding sons who further developed the line.
- Myszak line
The founder Myszak was born in 1937 in Wolhymien of Eastern Poland. He was used relatively shortly in the Konik polski breeding during evacuation of Konik polski studs to Germany during the World War II. He sired the only one son Gazda, born in 1946 that continued this line.
- Chochlik line
The mouse-coloured founder Chochlik born in 1940 in Biłgoraj District, bought as one-year-old for the Konik polski stud in Puławy where he was used as sire since 1943. This line was particularly developed by Chochlik’s son Lis born in 1957 in Popielno.
- Glejt I line
This is the youngest line in the Konik polski breed distinguished by the use in the seventies in the Racot-stud of the stallion Glejt II the son of Glejt I who was born in 1944 in Biłgoraj District.
- Liliput line
- Coat colour of Konik polski horses
In the pure-bred breeding of Konik horse, only mouse-coloured individuals with dorsal strip and without white spots or markings are allowed. Exceptionally, in mares very small white spots or markings on head (some white hairs, snip, star) are allowed temporarily.
The coat colour can be of the following tint:
- Bright mouse-colour,
- Dark mouse-colour,
- Bright hairs in the mane and tail are allowed. Different forms of zebra-stripes are desirable.
3. Breeding aims
- The breeding of Konik polski horse aims at achieving a middle-sized horse of reliable character, correctly built, of good constitution, regular gaits, suitable for all-year-round loose housing in herds. The Konik polski should be suitable both for riding and as a draft horse for recreational use for adult people as well as for children. A standard of height at withers should be 130-140 cm
- In the selection, natural resistance and immunity should be supported by keeping horses the whole year outdoors and reducing the keeping in stables. Feeding of roughage is recommended instead of concentrates. The age at the entry in the Studbook and principles of the performance tests should be in accordance with country’s regulations however, taking into account the guidelines given in the Studbook of Origin of the Konik polski as obligatory according to the Breeding Programme of the Konik polski.
- Keeping of the Studbook
- In the studbook all breeding horses are being entered which descend from parents entered in the main section of the Konik polski-Studbook and which fulfil all requirements for entering the studbook. All offspring of a mare which entered the studbook is listed as breeding performance of the mare. Breeding horses are accepted for entry the studbook after control of they origin (parentage), taking into account the sex, age, and breeding value evaluation
- A separate parts of the studbook are kept for stallions and mares
- An electronic version of the studbook is allowed, however, a separate print-out is necessary
- Principles of entry in the Studbook
- For the Konik polski horses only the main Studbook is kept (there are no divisions of the studbook)
- The Studbook is closed i.e. only stallions and mares can enter the studbook which stem from parents which have been registered in the studbook
- There is a separate numbering for stallions and mares in the studbook
5. Performance tests
- In order to preserve valuable utility traits of the Konik polski horse performance test should be conducted even though the country’s breeding regulations do not demand such tests
- In order to maintain the quality of the Konik polski horse, the offspring of the breeding horses should be also subjected to performance tests
- Performance tests should include low school riding, carriage test and possibly endurance test
- Performance tests passed in other country are to be accepted if they fulfil the minimum standards obligatory in the country of breed origin. The above mentioned concerns also purchased or hired stallions.
6. Sport events
- As far as possible, breeding organisations should encourage participation of breeding horses and their offsprion in sport events
- Performance of breeding horses and their progeny in sport events may be regarded as additional quality control of the breeding work and should be taken into account
7. Final remarks
- All breeding organisations dealing with the Konik polski horse are obliged to subordinate their breeding activity to the following aims:
- Maintenance of a traditional Konik polski breed, whose existence is endangered due to the small number of animals and which constitues a valuable European material culture heritage
- Further development of the breed in term of the number of horses without any losses of typical features of the Konik polski breed, and improvement of different possibilities of their use
- Preservation of unique features of Konik polski breed without loosing its genetic variability
- Promoting of Konik polski horse in the area of breeding, sport, recreation and culture by organisation of events at the local, country and/or international level.
- Creating or aiming at creating of equal conditions for Konik polski breeding within own country taking into account appropriate directives of the European Union.
- Harmony in solving problems related to breeding of Konik polski horses on the international level.