Cabardine (horse)

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Cabardian stallion

Cabardian stallion

Important data
Origin: North Caucasus, 12th century
Main breeding area: North Caucasus
Distribution: North Caucasus, Western Europe
Stick measure : 148-158 cm
Colors : predominantly brown, dark brown, black brown and black
Main application area: Work, trail riding, leisure, endurance sports

The Kabardiner is an elegant mountain horse from the Caucasus , which is still used intensively there by the rural population and which today finds many friends in Western Europe among recreational, hiking and, above all, endurance riders . It is characterized by its surefootedness, endurance and strong nerves and takes its name from the Kabardines , a tribe of the Circassians .

Background information on horse evaluation and breeding can be found under: Exterior , interior and horse breeding .


The Kabardiner is an elegant, robust horse and ideally suited to its breeding purpose . The leg position is slightly saber-legged, which - in combination with a well-muscled, knocked-off croup - leads to a safe gait even in the most difficult terrain and is an evolutionary adaptation to its field of application. The head is long with a slight ram profile, dry and noble. The long ears often have inwardly curved tips. Mane and tail are full. The eye is clear and alert, the neck of medium length, well set and muscled. The depth of the chest is good, the back is medium length and the hooves are firm and correct. The cannon bone is 18 to 21 centimeters. Mares are 148 to 156 cm tall, stallions are 150 to 158 cm tall. Brown, dark brown, black brown and black are represented in fur colors, molds are rare. There are few badges.


The Kabardiner is famous for his toughness and his sense of direction, which are based on the fact that he was primarily used by shepherds and hunters in the mountains. As a typical mountain horse, he is fearless and very nervous. It is particularly interesting for endurance and trail riding, but also for many other equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping, eventing, westerns or driving.

The sequence of movements is energetic and expansive, but the basic gaits are rather flat (higher action is not a deficiency) with acceleration and thrust from the hindquarters and a high degree of surefootedness. Tölt and pass can occur.

The Kabardiner is considered to be willing to perform, frugal, robust, fertile, of good orientation ability and high regenerative capacity, as well as easy to feed.

Breeding history

The breed probably dates back to the 12th century. Circassian brands from this time already document the breeding of the Circassian horse there, which is known today as the Kabardine horse. The roots for the horse breed are - as presumably with all breeds from this time - with the Persian and Arabian horse. But Turkmen as well as Nogai and Mongolian steppe horses are certainly represented in the ancestral lines. The breed was family oriented, i. H. each prince had his own discipline and his own brand, there was no overriding regulation. This changed around 1900. A first state stud book was issued and targeted breeding with an overarching breed description and breeding goals was established. At this time English thoroughbreds began to be crossed into the breed with the aim of making the breed a bit lighter and more elegant, as well as increasing the speed. At that time, only a small whole blood percentage was aimed for, which should reach approx. 5–10% in the breed mean. Around 1960, the crossbreeding of English whole blood was increased and a new type of Cabardine was created, the Anglo-Cabardine. This is defined for a cross between Kabardiner and English whole blood with a whole blood content of more than 12.5% ​​(Stud Book VI) (from 25% Stud Book V). The aim here was to get a faster horse that is competitive for the popular flat races - especially over the longer distances of 2 to 5 km.

In general, English thoroughbred blood has left its mark on the entire breed - not just in the form of the Anglo-Kabardian. Today there are approximately 5% whole blood in almost all lineages - as planned as the goal around 1900. The result is that the traditional, much heavier and rather smaller Kabardiner type is rarely found today. This made the Kabardian race itself a little more elegant.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, documentation of the Kabardine horse in the form of state-organized breeding also ended. Documentation was only continued on a private and local basis. Many horses ended up in slaughter cattle transports and breeding was in decline. It is only thanks to the commitment of enthusiasts that over 4000 horses can still be found in the Caucasus today, many of which were rescued from the large state studs or are descended from them.

In 2007 a new state stud book was started again, based on initiators in the Caucasus, as well as supported by a European initiative "Friends and Patrons of the Kabardine Horse eV", and above all the partially autonomous Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and theirs President Arsen Baschirowitsch Kanokow . Under the direction of the all-state stud book of Russia (VNIIK), a new registration was carried out, both in the Caucasus and in Europe. The 6th studbook was published in Russia in September 2008. In Europe, the relevant registration and breeding support is currently being carried out by the Bavarian Breeding Association for Small Horses and Special Horse Breeds.

The Kabardiner also contributed to the creation of the Tersker , the majority of the founding mares were mares of the Kabardine breed.

The Kabardines are mainly bred in the northern Caucasus and neighboring regions and have and have influenced many horse breeds around the southern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Most of the year they still graze in natural herds on meadows at altitudes of up to 3000 meters within sight of the Elbrus .

In the area of ​​origin, cabardines were and are used as riding and pack animals. Especially the border protection in the high mountains (pack horses), but also the daily errands and visits are done on horseback in the Caucasus. The work for shepherds who accompany the herds in the high mountains is particularly intense.

Distribution and use in Germany / Western Europe

In 2013 there were around 400 horses of the Kabardine breed in Germany, the majority of which were imported horses from the Caucasus. Only a few of the horses are used for breeding purposes, so only 4 licensed stallions are used for breeding and only about 30 mares are registered in breeding associations. Nevertheless, there is a small, stable and high-quality breed with some very good foals (2012: 8 foals, 4 of which are premium foals and 2 gold premium foals).

A good 90% of the Cabardines are used as leisure horses in Western Europe, often by trail riders for long rides. A small proportion of the Kabardines are also active in sport, mostly in endurance riding or in working equitation . The breed shows clear successes in distance sports and they develop into the second strongest breed in this sport next to the Arabs .

Some successes in distance sports

  • 2012: 1st place in the Bayerncup
  • 2011: 1st place CEI * 80 km Switzerland, 3rd place CEI ** 120 km Gartow, 1st place Bayerncup
  • 2008: 1st place at Central European Endurance Topolczianky over 160 km
  • 2006: 1st place at Südwestdeutschland International over 160 km
  • 2005: 16th place at the World Championships in Dubai, 14th place in the test run for the 2006 World Cup
  • 2004: 2nd place at the German championship

See also

Web links

Commons : Kabardiner (horse)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files