Noma Horses
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About Noma HorsesAbout Noma Horses

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Noma Horses (Noma Uma in Japanese) come from the Noma region of Imabari in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. They originated in the 17th century from Mongolian stock, they are the smallest of the native Japanese horse breeds. They are valued for their gentle personality and strength. In the past they were used for riding, light draft work, and as packhorses on the steep mountainsides in the rough Noma region. Today, they are mostly used as riding horses for children and as study subjects in local schools.

It is believed that in the early 17th century, Lord Hisamatsu of Matsuyama Han charged local farmers with breeding his warhorses, and the breed grew in popularity until the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, when the Japanese army were caught off guard by the much larger horses of their enemy. This led to a Japanese military breeding program and introduction of several breeds from abroad.

While this had many positive side effects, such as an increase of interest in breeding and racing horses, it also led to the near-extinction of native Japanese horse breeds. The newly formed Japanese Agency of Equine Affairs banned all breeding of small horses and by 1970 there were just six purebred animals remaining. Thanks to the stubbornness of a handful of farmers who illegally kept native horses for farm work that we still have the Numa ponies today. As of 2008, there were 84 purebred ponies in existence.

Source: Japanese Horse Breeds ( www.lingualift.com/blog/japanese-horse-breeds/ ).

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