Champions of the Horse: Saving Rare Breeds


Thrilling equestrian tales from the edge of extinction!

From Nazi Germany to the mountains of Wales, India to the American West, discover how familiar breeds of horse and pony were brought back from the brink – in some cases even recreated from extinction.

From the first wild horses that roamed the American Plains and the Asian Steppe to the racing Thoroughbred, the miniature Falabella to the heavy Shire, the horse has been bred for human use and companionship in a variety of shapes and sizes.

But many breeds have become extinct as the world has become more dependent on motorized transport and machinery.

Some dedicated people have stepped in to save horse breeds on the edge of extinction – some even controversially attempting to recreate extinct breeds.

Here are the stories of some of those breeds and their human champions, tirelessly working without reward simply for the love of the horse.

People such as:

• Louise Firouz, who endured prison in Iran for the sake of the Caspian, the ancient royal horse of Persia.

• Francesca Kelly, who has worked hard to prevent the Marwari from being erased from Indian history to the point where it danced for HM The Queen at her Diamond Jubilee.

• Velma Johnson, ridiculed as “Wild Horse Annie” by politicians, who took on the powerful US government for humane treatment of the feral mustangs of the American West, eventually achieving the current system of public land and wild horse management, and unwittingly preserving rare breeds such as the Spanish Colonial Horse, now found nowhere else in the world.

• Gareth Wyn Jones and fellow Welsh farmers who are fighting to preserve the last remaining herds of Carneddau ponies in the face of bureaucratic indifference (as seen on BBC TV’s The One Show).

• Then there were the notorious Heck brothers, favourites of the Nazi élite, who tried to recreate the Tarpan, Europe’s first horse, and whose efforts brought us the Konik Polski, now employed on wildlife reserves worldwide – or is it a new Tarpan?

• And the international groups working to ensure that the wild Takhi, Przewalski’s Horse, once more roams the Asian steppes despite being once extinct in the wild.  


• How scientists are using cloning and selective breeding, and the terrible consequences – inherited conditions and genetic disorders.

• Equine evolution and how human history has depended on the horse. 

Packed with information and interviews with experts, Champions of the Horse is not only a book that all horse-lovers will want to own, but it also appeals to people who are interested in history and thrilling stories of stubborn determination in the face of setbacks. 

Readers say:

“A fantastic book – I struggled to put it down!” – Friesian breeder

“Interesting and informative, especially if you love horses – Amazon reviewer

"An important book, full of history."

"Engaging, lyrical, fascinating."

Available as a handy paperback with black and white photos, or an e-book with colour photos. Published by Southwind Books.

Click here to purchase Champions of the Horse

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