About Nangchen Horses
Nangchen horses are a small breed of horse native to the
Kham region of northern Tibet. They are thought to have been bred pure since
the 9th century. They became known to the western world in 1994 due to the
exploration of French anthropologist Michel Peissel.
They are said to contain no ancestry from any of the common
sources for most other Tibetan pony breeds, neither Mongolian horse, Arabian
nor any type of Turkish blood. They are powerful and fast; and have many of the
characteristics of a modern racehorse. They have refined features, are
pony-sized, but tall for ponies, swift and agile. Their unique characteristics
include adaptations to the very high altitude of the region, including enlarged
In 1995, Peissel returned to Tibet in hopes of purchasing
some individual animals to study in more detail, but he was unable to do so due
to the high prices asked for the animals by local tribesmen. On their way back,
Peissel's expedition took an alternate route through a remote area and
discovered the Riwoche horse.