The feral horses of Garb have adapted to the desert environment that offers searing temperatures and little food. Today, you can catch a glimpse of these horses from a protected perch that looks out over the watering hole.
This area was first settled during the gold rush in 1873 but today the village of Kaapsehoop is occupied by many artists who have set up shop. Experiencing one adventure into this area will have you understanding why the freedom-loving souls have always found it a place to call home.
The wetlands that house the Rewinds Nature Preserve also give refuge to a small herd of wild horses that have a mysterious origin, These horses are the most difficult to get a glimpse of as the herd is small and their history with humans has left them staying clear of the two-legged species. It is thought the horses an originated when the British soldiers left the area over a hundred years ago.
The herd eventually grew to be over 200 strong but local farmers hunted them down and killed most of them. It is told that only three of these original horses managed to escape, and they are the ancestors of those who now thrive in the wetland area.
Taking the time to explore the areas where wild horses still run free will be an experience you will never forget. If you keep in mind these animals are feral and should not be fed or approached closely, you will be able to observe them as they go about their day.
When he moves on from this world, he does not want to leave his grandchildren a planet without lions, rhinos and elephants. Some may have complex or obscure histories, so inclusion here does not necessarily imply that a breed is predominantly or exclusively African.
Name English name if differentReported fromNotesImage Abyssinian Ethiopia Bahr-El-Ghazal Chad ALADI Egyptian Egypt Niagara Mali, Niger Barb Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia Lesotho Pony Lesotho Beledougou Mali Beirut Pony Nigeria Bob Burkina Faso Border Botswana, South Africa Born Nigeria Calvin South Africa extinct Cape Harness South Africa extinct Cape Horse South Africa Coeval de Nioro Mali Dermal Niger Domain Mali Angola Chad, Eritrea, Mali, Sudan English Halibut Horse South Africa European Warm blood South Africa Leave Senegal FOTA Senegal Haldane :122 Tunisia Hausa Mali, Niger, Nigeria Hod Mali, Mauritania Koto-Koli Pony Benin, Togo Le money DES Moods Tunisia M' Par Senegal M'Bayer Senegal Moss Burkina Faso Nam aqua Pony South Africa extinct Najib Horse South Africa Nephew Pony Tunisia extinct Nooitgedachter Botswana, South Africa Money du Logon Chad SA Miniature Horse South Africa SA Sporting horse South Africa SA Warm Blood South Africa Sahel Mali Somali Pony Somalia Songhai Mali Sudan Country-Bred Sudan Surabaya Nigeria Tailed Sudan Torrid Niger Tswana Botswana Clamped South Africa West African Barb Algeria, Chad, Ghana, Mauritania, Senegal, Tunisia West African Angola Central African Republic, Sudan West African Pony Ghana Western Sudan Pony Sudan Height Burkina Faso ^ Breeds in Africa : Horse. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
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I’ve said on several previous occasions that domestic animals are far from outside the Tet Zoo remit. On the contrary, I find them to be of great interest, and I think that their diversity, evolution and behavior is something that we should pay attention to more often.
The article you’re reading now is a weird spin off of the Tetra pod Zoology podcast (known in-universe as the TetZoopodcats) and relates specifically to a question we were asked by Tet Zoo regular Richard Hing. I should say to begin with that it’s becoming ever-easier for me to write about domestic horse breeds and their history because I now own quite a few books devoted to these subjects.
While there ’s a very obvious European (and British) bias to these books, the good news is that at least some of them do discuss the breeds from places like sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of African horse breeds are derivatives of a domestication event that was centered in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean fringes.
I really want to avoid the subject of pre-dynastic horses and domestication history (and taxonomy) here since it’s very complicated and there ’s lots to say. I will say that horses were seemingly domesticated several times, from wild populations that almost certainly differed in proportions and other characteristics.
They have proportionally long ears and a bulging forehead region that apparently reflects the presence of large frontal sinuses (Bennett 2008). This is a long-headed, long-legged horse with flat shoulders, a low-set tail and sloping hindquarters, and it can be virtually any shade of brown, black or gray.
They’ve repeatedly been crossed with Arab horses, so much so that a large pool of hybrids now exists, and several Barb strains have been bred. A form with a Roman-nosed appearance is associated with Tripoli, and smaller-bodied versions have been bred in mountainous parts of Algeria and Morocco.
One hybrid population, mostly associated with Libya, has a distinctive-enough look that it’s treated as a distinct breed, the Libyan barb or North African horse. From here, they were taken to South America where breeds like the Argentine Criollo, Puerto Rican Pass Fine and Machado are apparently derived from them.
I should also note briefly that Barbs may have originated in Spain in the first place, an idea which is consistent with archaeological and genetic data suggesting that the Iberian Peninsula was both a Pleistocene refuge for wild horses, and a domestication center for animals that were later taken around the Mediterranean fringes and across northern Africa (Jansen et al. Animals I’ve seen in photos have a gently bulging forehead and slightly concave dorsal face profile like that seen in North African Barbs.
Many comments made about the Angola have a negative connotation: it’s described as having thin legs, a proportionally big, dorsally convex and unattractive head, a flat croup (= rump), and a long back. Hendricks (2007) refers to the degeneration of quality in this breed and a 19th century concern that it was nearing extinction.
Fulani horses are small and hardy, they’re highly variable, and they have features indicative of an Afro-Turkic/Oriental ancestry. Pictures show a long, narrow face, slender proportions overall and a function as both a pack and saddle horse.
Linguistic data, rock art and historical accounts indicate that these animals have been in West Africa for some considerable time, perhaps for 1000 years or more. In fact, it’s obvious that “he importance of ponies in West Africa has been seriously underestimated because the process of replacement by the larger and more prestigious horses brought across the desert was already advanced during the period when the first observers were writing” (Blench 1993, p. 103).
Several groups of people in what is now Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and elsewhere in western and Central Africa are recorded as using and breeding horses, and of using them extensively in battle. Indeed, there ’s good evidence that the use of horses was key in the military and political patterns of the region (Blench 1993).
Plateau State in Nigeria was inhabited by people with a rich and interesting horse-based culture. The Pit people of Nigeria also used their small hill ponies when hunting game.
Sadly, all of these animals seem to have declined substantially in recent decades with a 1990 survey finding only three in use among one of the relevant ethnic groups (Blench 1993). A remarkable tradition apparently used by people across the region concerns the deliberate cutting of the horse’s back such that it bled, the clotting blood then being used as an adhesive to help the (bareback) rider stay in place.
Blench (1993) quoted UMM (1910) on this, and noted that it seemed so bizarre (and cruel) that it would ordinarily be worthy of dismissal as a traveler’s tale. Some authors provided extra information, saying that the skin was opened on the back such that a swollen pad (and eventually a giant roughened area of scar tissue) formed and functioned as a sort of built-in saddle.
A Berm man (the Berm or Biro are indigenous to the Jo's Plateau in Nigeria) was quoted as saying “A horse is like a man; you send it out to bring a tired man home, you give it water to drink, you walk miles to find it grass to eat, it carries you to hunt and to war, when it is tired you dismount and carry your load on your own head. When you die, and they lead it towards your grave, its spirit may fly out of its body in its anxiety to find you” (Musical 1982, p. 23-24).
Ponies kept by the Berm were killed when their owner died and the corpse was then wrapped in the skin (Davies, in Blench 1993). Axes, spears, saddles and bits and reins were used by these people as they rode, and Master apparently featured a remarkable image where Gamer warriors, crossing the Logon River in canoes, are leading their swimming horses behind them (Blench 1993).
Master also referred to the sight of 3000-4000 Gamer warriors, about one-third of which were mounted, so they apparently owned a great many horses. It’s apparently has exceptionally hard hooves, relatively short legs and a longish back (Goodall 1963).
These features are all related to its sure-footedness on rough, rocky terrain, and it’s this characteristic which had made the Auto a popular and reliable horse used extensively during the Boer War. The Auto seems to have originated as a cross between Arab, Persian and Thoroughbred horses during the middle of the 17th century and to have been brought to Southern Africa by Dutch and Portuguese people.
The origins and history of miniature horses is confusing, in part because people have crossed small individuals of many breeds to create small-stature animals. They probably descend from horses imported to the region for military purposes and don’t have (contra some ideas on their origins) any direct links to Auto ponies used by endemic people.
I don’t know anywhere near as much as I might like, but the few sources I’ve consulted show that western, central and Southern Africa at least have a rich and diverse history of equestrianism. Horses have also been used extensively in war, in ceremonial fashion or as working or riding animals in many African countries even well south of the Sahara.
Ethnographic and linguistic evidence for the prehistory of African ruminant livestock, horses and ponies. In And ah, B., Spoke, A., Shaw, C. & Sinclair, P. (eds) The Archaeology of Africa : Food, Metals and Towns.
The Luciano horse maternal lineage based on mitochondrial D-loop sequence variation. North Africans have been riding horses since antiquity and equines remain a valued cultural resource, says Dr Mac.
In fact, new archaeological evidence suggests that horses were domesticated and ridden in northern and western Africa long before the Ancient Egyptians harnessed them to their war chariots. The Tuareg, for example, are an ancient Berber tribe who ride horses and camels and practice nomadic pastoral ism with sheep, goats and cattle in the Sahara.
Clinging to an ancient way of life in the desert Between 1900 and 1917, the Tuaregs resisted French colonialism, but their broadswords were no match for modern weapons. The traditional Tuareg territory in the Sahara and Sahel was divided up between Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso.
Tuareg's pastoralists still roam the Saharan parts of Niger, Mali and Algeria, their livestock grazing different areas at different times of the year. Where riding skills are revered When I visited Cote d’Voice about five years ago, I bought the brass statue seen here.
The youngsters were schooling young horses bareback along the grass in the center of the freeway, racing the speeding trucks and cars! The traditional bridle lacks a nose band and is decorated with many fronds and tassels to protect the eyes and nostrils from flies.
There is a rare and small band of feral horses in Africa called the Namib Desert Horses, which are found in the Namib Desert of Namibia, Africa. Usually the cavalry in Roman legions were native auxiliaries, such as the Namibians from Northern Africa, and the horses would come from the same region.
The first horses that came to Australia, two stallions and five mares, arrived in 1788 with the First Fleet from England. Australia's breeding horses arrived from South Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope, in 1795.
There are hundreds of mammals in Africa, shrews, mice, rats, monkeys, apes, deer, antelope, horses, cats, lions, dogs, and many, many more. Prehistoric horses began in America and moved into Europe and Africa via the Siberian land bridge.
Rubies are hardy animals, living in all the climatic and topographical zones of Australia, from the deserts to the Snowy Mountains. Their history started in 1653 when the Dutch East India Company brought the first horses to the country.
Over the years, a number of Arabian horses were used to improve the quality of the breed. Later these local horses were combined with thoroughbred bloodstock to further improve the breed.
The Cape Horse was hardy, could survive on meager rations and grazing and was a very comfortable ride. In the second group, breeders were allowed to add to the breed but not take any of the original qualities away.
The other two breeds which have originated under South African skies are the Nooitgedacht Pony and the SA Clamped. It is used for polo, dressage, show jumping and hacking and is a favorite for children.
The Bantam Horse came about by crossing Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and local Cape mares. More recently, Frisian stallions were bred with Bantam Mares as were Oldenburg's and Cleveland Bays.
The only true wild horses are in Asia and their primary predator is the wolf. You might find a feral horse sanctuary or reservation, though, but there are no wild horses indigenous to South Africa.
Africa does have a few horse breeds, though, like the Nootigedatcher(spelling? In both North camp; South America there are horses that live in the wild.
These are wild horses that were reestablished from zoo stock then released. To my knowledge nothing attacks horses in the wild.
Yes there are wild horses on jungle isle. It is probably the only feral herd of horses residing in Africa, with a population ranging between 90 and 150.
Despite the harsh environment in which they live, the horses are generally in good condition, except during times of extreme drought. The origin of the Namib Desert Horse is unclear, though several theories have been put forward.
Whatever their origin, the horses eventually congregated in the Garb Plains, near Au's, Namibia, the location of a man-made water source. They were generally ignored by humans, except for the periodic threat of eradication due to the possibility that they were destroying native herbivore habitat, until the 1980s.
In 1984, the first aerial survey of the population was made, and in 1986, their traditional grazing land was incorporated into the Namib-Naukluft Park. Since the early 1990s, close records of the population have been kept, and studies have been performed to determine the horses effect on their environment.
Despite being considered an exotic species within the park, they are allowed to remain due to their ties to the country's history and draw as a tourist attraction. The Namib Desert Horses are athletic, muscular, clean-limbed, and strong boned.
Club hooves are occasionally seen in foals, likely due to trauma to the hoof while traveling long distances. Scientists studying the horses rate their body condition on a scale of one (excellent) to five (very poor), based mainly on estimated weight and muscle tone.
The condition of the horses is directly correlated to rainfall, through a correlation to available forage, though temperature, distance between forage and water and individual energy expenditures also play a role. Studies during the 1990s found no evidence of equine disease among the population and few external parasites.
Investigations of carcasses found four internal nematode parasites present (strangles, small and large pin worms and Awards), as well as the larvae of bottles. The Namib Desert Horse travels extensively, searching for food, water and shelter from the climate and insects.
A 1994 study found that they have an average home range of 13 square miles (34 km 2), although not all of that is traversed each day. This creates severe selection pressure and removes weak animals from the population.
In 1993, a second study showed that the physiological water-conservation ability did not differ between Namib Desert Horses and other populations when dehydrated for periods of up to 60 hours, but suggested that the Namib Desert Horse would show improved conservation ability when dehydration periods were extended to upwards of 72 hours, a common occurrence in their feral state. The horses, especially young foals and juveniles, provide a major food source in the southern Namib Desert for the spotted hyena, along with gearbox and springbok.
However, the availability of other food appears to have a significant influence on predation rates among the horses. The harsh environmental conditions in which they live are the main driver of mortality among the Namib Desert Horse, as they cause dehydration, malnutrition, exhaustion and lameness.
Other large plains animals, including the mountain zebra, may have once sporadically utilized the area for grazing during periods of excess rainfall, but human interference (including fencing off portions of land and hunting) have eliminated or significantly reduced the movement of these animals in the area. Despite the large domesticated breeding population from which the horses originally descended, at least one genetic bottleneck has occurred in the breed's history, resulting in a significant decline in genetic variation over a relatively short period of time.
Estimates for a necessary minimum population to maintain genetic effectiveness range between 100 and 150 animals. As the genetic similarity to Arabian-type horses is distant, they do not closely resemble them in outward appearance, although they are both of the hot-blooded type, resulting in both being athletic, lean-muscled animals.
There are several theories on the ancestors of the Namib Desert Horse, and the true story may never be known. One theory says that a cargo ship carrying Thoroughbreds to Australia wrecked near the Orange River, and the strongest horses swam ashore and traveled to the Garb Plains, the home of the Namib Desert Horse, near Au's, Namibia.
Another theory states that they descend from Cape horse /Auto pony crosses ridden by Khoikhoi raiders traveling from Southern Africa to north of the Orange River. During World War I, horses were used in campaigns in Namibia between the German Schutztruppe and South African troops, and some escaped or were released into the desert.
Prior to this time, a German Baron on Wolf built Tunisia Castle on the edge of the Namib Desert, where he held a herd of approximately 300 horses. On Wolf was killed in action in Europe during World War I, and his farm was abandoned, leaving his horses on fenced land relatively close to the area where the Namib Desert Horses now roam.
The genetic evidence of the 2001 study gave less credence to the descent from on Wolf's horses. Research in the archives of pre-1914 horse breeding operations found at Windhoek, combined with blood typing studies, suggests that the animals descended from a gene pool of high-quality riding animals, as opposed to work horses.
One possible source of breeding stock was a stud farm near Suburb, leased by Emil Kremlin (previously mayor of Luddite) from 1911 to 1919. Photo albums from the stud show animals with conformation and markings similar to those seen in the modern Namib Desert Horse.
In addition, in early 1915, during the fighting of World War I, bombs were dropped by a German aircraft onto the South African camp near Garb. Some ordnance seems to have been specifically targeted to land among a herd of 1,700 grazing horses, for the purposes of scattering them.
Horses in the area would likely have congregated at the few existing watering places in the Au's Mountains and Garb. In 1984, an aerial count was made that distinguished 168 horses, while ground-based observations in 1988 estimated between 150 and 200 animals.
The watering hole at Garb, with a shelter for human visitors in the background. In the mid-1980s, the horses habitat was made part of Namib-Naukluft Park, the largest game reserve in Africa. In 1986, after the expansion to the park, a movement was made to remove all horses (which were considered an exotic species); public outcry prevented this from happening.
In 1992, as Namibia gained its independence and a drought enveloped Southern Africa, a decision was made to reduce the population, then estimated at 276 animals. In June 104 animals were captured selectively and sold, but many did not adjust well to their new habitats and by 1997 at least half had died.
Although several attempts were originally made to exterminate the horses, due to a possible threat to onyx habitat, they are now protected by the South West Africa /Namibia Directorate of Nature Conservation. Feral Najib horses interacting closely with human visitors to the watering hole at Garb There is concern in some quarters that the horses are a negative influence on their habitat, through overgrazing and competition with native species.
The amount and species of vegetation found outside the watering area appear more affected by rainfall than by the horses, probably due to the low population density and natural rotational grazing. Due to the lack of effect on vegetation by horses, it is unlikely that they significantly influence small mammal populations.
The horses also appear to have no measurable effect on any vulnerable or endangered plant or animal species, which in several cases are more threatened by human influence. However, when their grazing grounds were made part of the game reserve, a policy of limited intervention was put in place that encouraged support to be given to the horses when necessary, bringing the horses into closer contact with humans.
This also included closer contact with tourists to Namibia, who frequently see them at the watering area at Garb and near the main road that traverses their grazing grounds. While the horses are credited with bringing tourist dollars to Namibia, there are also concerns about negative horse-human interactions, including vehicle accidents, disruption to sensitive areas by people looking for the horses and disruption of herd dynamics due to becoming too used to or dependent upon humans.
Understanding Horse Behavior: An Innovative Approach to Equine Psychology and Successful Training. “Effect of dehydration on the volumes of body fluid compartments in horses (PDF).
“Genetic Variation in the feral horses of the Namib Desert, Namibia”. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association (J S Afr Vet Assoc).
“Ghost towns and wild horses in world's oldest desert”. It is usually taken for granted that the horse was introduced to African and Dravidian people by Asians or Indo-European.
But as indicated below the affinities between the terms for horse in Dravidian and African languages indicate that the horse was domesticated by Dravidian's, and other Proto-Saharans before the Asian invasion of Egypt and spread of the Indo-European speaking people. Archaeological evidence indicate that the horse was known to the Nubian's centuries before its common use in Egypt.
Although the horse and camel are depicted in the rock art of Nubia, the Sahel-Sahara and Upper Egypt they are considered to be related to the Graeco-Roman period. Moreover, camel figurines are found in German (3500 BC) and archaic Egyptian context.
The horse is often associated with being ridden by the personages depicted in the rock art. In the same area we find engravings of men capturing horses probably to be ridden or harnessed to a chariot.
This date is probably far to late given the fact that the horse is attested too early in the archaeological history of Saharan Africa as discussed above. At Bu hen, one of the major fortresses of Nubia, which served as the headquarters of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush a skeleton of a horse was found lying on the pavement of a Middle Kingdom apart dating to 1675BC.
This also supports the early habits of Africans riding horses as depicted in the rock art. The Nubian's and Upper Egyptians were great horsemen whereas the Lower Egyptians usually rode the chariot, the Nubian warriors of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty rode on horseback.
), Nubia (N), Wolf (W.) Hausa, Tamil (Ta), Malaya (MAL) Somali (Some.) B’LU, solo Made bar ‘gray horse’, Hausa Arab ‘swift horse’Wolf FAS Somali Frank Egyptian never Severe pis Tamil, MAL.
Part Tamil payer, Fulani punch Made bar Ge’EZ farms Galley or Promo farad, Ferrara. In West Africa according to Daniel McCall the horse was in the Sahara during the Second Millennium BC This would explain the affinity between the Dravidian and African terms for horse outlined above.
The Dravidian and African languages share similar names for the wheel. Galley makurakura Lulu Mali, tagoriSwahili guru, dump Made Kali, Lori, muru-feTamil KAL, ARI, URL, bikini Key.
The linguistic evidence suggest that in the photo- language the speakers of proto-African-Dravidian used either the vowels o/u or a/i after the consonants. This forced the original West African domesticated horses to move southward where they are presently found.