Spiti Horse

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Spiti Horse
Other namesSpiti Pony
Country of originIndia
Distinguishing features
  • Male height: 125 cm
  • Female height: 100 cm
  • Male weight: 185 kg
  • Female weight: 160 kg[1]
Conservation status: FAO (2007): not at risk[2]

The Spiti Horse is a breed of small mountain horse or pony from Himachal Pradesh in northern India.[3] It takes its name from the Spiti River, and is found mainly in the Kullu,[4] Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts of the state.[5]

The population of the Spiti breed was reported in 2004 as 4000;[1] the population was thought to be in rapid decline, and in urgent need of conservation.[5]:76 In 2007 its conservation status was recorded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as "not at risk".[2]


In the Spiti region the traditional method of management of breeding is for a group of villages to use only one stallion to cover all the mares; a different stallion is used each year.[6]:7


The Spiti Horse has some similarity to Mongolian and Tibetan breeds;[7]:201 genetic diversity analysis shows it to be close to the Zanskari, which occupies a similar range in the Himalaya. Some interchange between the two breeds is documented.[6]:5 The Spiti breed, however, is less well adapted to very high altitudes.[3]

It is a small, sturdy mountain horse, well adapted to the harsh environment of the Himalaya. It is fast and sure-footed on mountain terrain, moves safely on ice, and has good stamina and resistance to cold and to disease.[5]:76 It is used both as a pack animal and for riding.[5]:76 The usual coat colours are bay, black, piebald and grey.[5]:77


  1. ^ a b Spiti Pony/India. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed June 2015.
  2. ^ a b Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed June 2015.
  3. ^ a b About Indian Horses. Indigenous Horse Society of India. Accessed June 2015.
  4. ^ Equines in India: Horses Archived 22 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Indian Council of Agricultural Research: National Research Centre on Equines. Accessed June 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e R.K. Pundir (2004). Characterisation of Spiti Horses of India. Animal Genetic Resources Information 34: 75–82.
  6. ^ a b A.K. Gupta, Mamta Chauhan, Anuradha Bhardwaj, Neelam Gupta, S.C. Gupta, Yash Pal, S.N. Tandon, R.K. Vijh (2014). Comparative genetic diversity analysis among six Indian breeds and English Thoroughbred horses. Livestock Science 163 (May 2014): 1–11. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Elwyn Hartley Edwards (1994). The Encyclopedia of the Horse. London; New York; Stuttgart; Moscow: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0751301159.