Heck Horses
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About Heck HorsesAbout Heck Horses



Heck horses wererndeveloped to resemble the now extinct Tarpan horses. They were created by the German zoologist brothers Heinz Heck andrnLutz Heck, director of the Berlin Zoo, at the Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich Zoo)rnin Germany. The first foal born from the program was a colt born on May 22,rn1933 at the Tierpark Hellabrunn.rnrn

rnrnThe Heck brothers believed that they could recreate the extinct tarpan subspeciesrnby back breeding living descendants. They felt that they could combine andrnrearrange the genetic material from these living descendants into a recreationrnof the extinct horse.rnrn

rnrnThey bred together several European small horse and pony breedsrnreputed to be descended from the tarpan. They used mares of the Konik,rnIcelandic Horse, and Gotland breeds. These mares were bred to stallions of arnwild horse type known as Przewalski's Horse. The Hecks felt that the wildrnPrzewalski blood would help to draw out the wild characteristics that they feltrnlay dormant in the domesticated pony breed mares.rnrn

rnrnThe first Heck horse, a stallion named Duke,rnwas imported to the United States in 1954. He was imported to the ChicagornZoological Park in Illinois, followed by two mares in 1955. In 1962 a thirdrnmare was imported to the Fort Worth Zoological Park in Texas. All of thesernhorses came from the Munich Zoo, and all Heck horses in the United States tracernto these animals. There are now several private breeders in the United States,rnwho use their horses for riding and light driving. In the early 1960's, thernNorth American Tarpan Association was founded by Heck horse enthusiasts tornpromote the breed.rnrn

rnrnSeveral breeders have crossed the Heck horsernwith other breeds to get a larger horse with some of the primitiverncharacteristics. Breeds that are commonly crossed with the Heck horse are thernWelsh pony and Arabian horse, and a new breed of pony, called the Canadianrnrustic pony, has been developed from these three breeds. In Europe, manyrnbreeders cross Heck horses with Thoroughbreds to produce hunters.

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