Do you know most Bulgarian village horses are actually related to ancient European Equine-Royalty?
Bulgaria’s endangered and indigenous Karakachan horse is believed to be the closest living relative to the Thracian war-horse.
Over 3,500 years ago the Thracians were the most feared warriors in all of Europe- thanks to their fiery horses and extreme equestrian skills.
While most tribes in Europe used chariots, the Thracians were most feared for their fierce cavalry skills.
Thracian horses were small (125cm to 150cm), and considered to be ‘finely built’ compared to their heavy and feathered Northern European counterparts.
Interestingly, analysis of bones found in Thracian burial sites shows that often a warrior’s horse was much loved, well cared for and still regularly riding into battle at the grand old age of 18 years or more!
In ancient Thrace, the horse was not seen as simply a ‘vehicle’, archaeologists have discovered them buried in the grandest of tombs, depicted extensively in Thracian art and likely even worshiped.
Sadly, today there are very few pure Karakachan horses left in existence. Only two ‘pure’ herds remain; one roaming the Rila mountains and another working in the Rhodopes.
However, we shouldn’t forget that almost all lowly village cart horses have a percentage of Karakachan in their genes…
So next time you pass a shabby village ‘carutza’ or tethered roadside mare- remember that although they might seem really rather unimpressive compared with today’s modern sports horse breeds- their ancestors were at one time, the most feared and impressive war-horses in all of Europe!