What kind of horse is a Hucul?

(Source: Wikipédia)

This small horse breed is considered the Carpathian pony. This small, sturdy breed is also known as huculska, hutsul, huţul, huţan or huzul hucule, huzule.

These horses are usually calm and can be used either to ride or to pull a cart in the otherwise inaccessibe areas. Their colour ranges from bay, clack, dun to grey. The bred was created with the doemstication of the Tarpan and its accomodation to the mountains and thus can be considered native to the Carpathian Basin. 


Hucul is the closest relative of the Eurasian wild horse, the Tarpan, which is now extinct. Its name comes from a small ethnic group, the Huculs. The breed itself is much older than the ethnic group. The Huculs are probably depicted on the monuments erected by Roman Emperors Domitian andTrajan, as Dacian draft horses. The breed was mentioned for the first time in written resources around 400 years ago (as the "Mountain Tarpan"). Unlike the Polish Konik, the Hucul has been only rarely cross-bred with domestic horses.


In the 19th century the Huculs were used by the Austro-Hungarian army as they were well-suited to the harsh conditions in the mountains. Planned breeding of the Austrian empire began in Radauti and i Lucina stud in 1792, but because the breed was not  considered modern enough, in 1870, they disbanded the breeding colonies, the horses were distributed among the farmers of the area. In 1922, the restarted breeding, but the results and the  stud books were destroyed in World War II. 1953 Csaba Anghel, director of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden started the breeding again. horses were introduced into the herd bred from Slovakia. These horses were placed the territory of the Aggtelek National Park in 1986. Today, the stock contains more than 140 mares and 10 stallions.

The first horse was founded in Romania in 1856 the first stud farm. The founding manes, Goral, Hroby, Ouşor, and Prislop Pietrousu created a number of bloodline  and the horses were bred carefully to preserve the purity of the bloodline.

In 1922, thirty-three horses were sent to Czechoslovakia to establish a herd that could be the Gurgul line. During World War II, Czechoslovakia is extremely the number of horses Hucul decreased significantly. After the war, only 300 Hucul horse were left in the country. In the early 1970s, the farmers set up an organization, Hucul Club, which aimed to prevent the extinction resulting from the drop in the number of horses. In 1982, they established a herd book, in which they aimed to have 50 pureblood animals and to increase the number of horses in the region.

Thanks to the efficiency of the of this horse breeders the global population of these horses are now over 1,000. Most of them can be found in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic and Ukraine. Many European ponies have Hucul blood in them.

Today, Hutsul horses  are bred mainly in the Bukovina region of Romania and Hungary. In recent years, the race's popularity has also extended to England. Many Hucul horses are still owned by private breeders. Since 1992, the international breeding of Hucul horses has been coordinated by the International Federation.

What are the characteristics of Hucul horses?

The Hucul has a shoulder height of only 131-145 centimetres. Its colour is mostly dark bay or chestnut also faded or dull mouse, but there are black or mixed varieties as well. His head is large, but not overly so. He gives a sturdy impression with his wide back and neck and thick the chest. There is belt that stretches over his back. The limbs are short and muscular. Hooves are hard, often without shoes. The extraordinary properties of Hucul mainly in the mountainous areas are highly appreciated. They are perfectly adapted to mountains, harsh weather conditions, poor nutrition, their work skills are outstanding, and they are sure-footed even on the rocky mountain roads.

How useful Hucul are today?

They perfectly meet today’s expectations, since they are excellent hobby animals, their rear legs can easily bear the necessary weight, they have good jumping abilities and their unique, balanced gait is well-suited for horse archery.