About Basuto Pony Horses
Basuto Ponies are from South Africa. They are derived from
horses imported by Dutch settlers in 17th century.
Basuto Ponies arrived in South Africa in 1653, when four
horses were introduced to the Cape area by the Dutch East India Trading
Company. The exact breed of these horses is unknown, but they may have been
Arabian, Persian, or similar to the Java Pony. They were upgraded later with
Arabian and Persian blood.
These original imported horses became the founders of the
Cape Horse, which became extremely popular and especially gained an admirable
reputation during the Boer Wars. The Cape Horse and the Basuto probably were
originally the same horse, and then with continual Thoroughbred and Arabian
blood, the Cape Horse became a larger, more quality animal, with the Basuto
remaining smaller and stockier.
Lesotho, formerly known as Basutoland, acquired Cape Horses
as spoils of war between the Zulus and the settlers. As a result of harsh
conditions and interbreeding with local ponies, the Cape Horse lost much of its
height and nobility, and the Basuto pony largely took its place.
Due to the rocky and hilly terrain that the Basuto ponies
were continually ridden over, often at great speeds, they developed into tough,
surefooted animals with incredible stamina and bravery. These excellent
qualities were very nearly the undoing of the breed. The Basuto became so
popular that thousands were exported, and then many of the best horses were
killed in action during the Boer War at the end of the 19th century. There is
now a concerted effort to re-establish the commendable Basuto breed.
Ponies are considered a small horse, since they possesses horse-like
characteristics, such as an exceptionally long stride. Basutos have a rather
heavy head, a long neck and long, straight back, a straight shoulder, and a
muscular, sloping croup. They have very tough legs and sound, very hard hooves.
They can be up to 14.2 hands high but rarely taller. Basutos can be chestnut,
brown, bay, gray or black, and have white markings. They are usually surefooted,
fast, and fearless. They have several gaits: the walk, the trot, canter, the
triple and the pace. They are considered a gaited breed.