Almost 60% of our equine breeds are endangered or have a vulnerable status with such small populations, that their destiny often depends on the selfless commitment of individual persons. It is my mission now to explore rare and endangered horse breeds and to give them a new platform and to preserve equine diversity.
Horses don't fight wars, transport letters nor cultivate land anymore, but is this a reason to let them die out?
Promoting always the same few breeds for the sake of profit can't be a goal of breeders and equestrian societies.
The loss of equine diversity goes hand in hand with the alarming trend of having less and lesser biodiversity on a global scale.
Let's work together and give Forgotten Horses a push in public consciousness by raising awareness to this matter.
Learn more about the Forgotten Horses I have met and photographed. The breed gallery will updated continuously.
Preserve equine diversity
The numbers of the FAO Bioversity Report 2019 are shocking and although they are about all livestock breeds (which included horses), itshows an alarming trend, that probably one quarter of the equine population faces extinction and the risk status of half of the equine breeds is unknown or vulnerable.
- 7 745 local breeds of livestock are still in existence
- 26% of these are at risk of extinction
- The risk status of 67% is unknown
- Only 7% are not at risk
An incomplete and unofficial list of Forgotten Horses
The list of extinct and vanished equine breeds is incredibly long and most horse breeds died out because they were not needed any more. This is still a problem of many existing breeds and types, but it also seems that breeding societies and clubs prefer to promote only a few, more “profitable” breeds and tend to forget about the others.
During my research I created a list of mostly european horse breeds, which is definitely incomplete and more names will be added. All horses are listed as critical, threatened/endangered, vulnerable, at risk, recovering or restored by one of the above mentioned societies. I also added horse breeds which are not listed officially, but have such small numbers that they should be recognised by any list, but aren’t for various reasons.
Please don’t hesitate to write me if you want to support me in my mission, know addresses, breeders or contacts of any of the listed breeds or if you have knowledge about other breeds which I haven’t listed.
- Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen e. V. (GEH)
- Arche Austria – Verein zur Erhaltung seltener Nutztierrassen
- Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) (UK)
- A Sociedade Portuguesa de Recursos Genéticos Animais (SPREGA)
- The Livestock Conservancy (US)
- Heritage Livestock Canada
- Equus Survival Trust
- Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand
- Rare Breed Trust of Australia
Native breed criteria
Every watchlist has different criteria for breeds to be placed on the list,. First of all only native and registered breeds of a country are approved. It also depends on population genetic factors, population size and registered breeding females. If there is insufficient data or a country doesn’t display interest in conserving heritage breeds, it is more likely that the breed doesn’t pop up in any list and has no official status.
- Critical (less than 150)
- Endangered (300-500)
- Vulnurable (500-900)
- At Risk (900-1500)
- Minority (1500-3000)
- Other native breeds (greater than 3000)
Rote Liste der bedrohten Nutztierrassen in Deutschland – Categories:
- I – extrem gefährdet
- II – stark gefährdet
- III – gefährdet
- Daten unzureichend: Genetik bzw. Gefährdungsgrad unsicher
- Rassen aus anderen Ländern
- Critical: Fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 2,000.
- Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 5,000.
- Watch: Fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 10,000. Also included are breeds that present genetic or numerical concerns or have a limited geographic distribution.
- Recovering: reeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded Watch category numbers but are still in need of monitoring.
- Study: Breeds that are of genetic interest but either lack definition or lack genetic or historical documentation.
Do you own a rare or endangered breed?
Do you own an endangered breed, volunteer for a trust or work on a stud? Or do you ride and train a horse that could represent its breed? I would love to portrait your horses as part of my Forgotten Horses project. Let’s set up a session to capture the breed in various contexts.