Kiso Horses
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Kiso Horse (or Kiso Uma) are small horses and one of the eight indigenous horse breeds of Japan. They are the only native horse breed from Honshu, the principal island of Japan. Like most other Japanese native breeds, it is critically endangered.

Kiso Horses originates from the Kiso Valley and the Kiso Sanmyaku mountain range, in Nagano Prefecture, and the Higashimino region of Gifu Prefecture, in central Honshu. During the Meiji era (1868 - 1912) they were severely affected by the breeding program of the Imperial Japanese Army, which wanted taller horses and ordered that Kiso stallions gelded, and only imported stallions be used to cover Kiso mares. After the Second World War only a few pure-bred Kiso horses remained. However a single stallion, dedicated to a religious shrine, had escaped castration. His son Daisan-haruyama was born in 1951 and is the foundation stallion of the present-day breed.

In 1899 there were 6823 Kiso horses. Between 1965 and 1976 breed numbers fell from 510 to 32. In 1969 Kiso horse registration began, under the Kiso Pony Conservation Group and their numbers have since slowly recovered. In 2013 the total population was estimated at 150.

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