By Kamila Aliyeva
The Karabakh horse, a breed included on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, can truly be called the pride of the Caucasus.
A commission to rate and assess horses of Karabakh breed will be created in Azerbaijan.
The commission will include specialists from relevant departments of the ministry, Asaf Omarov, the head of the department of organization and identification in the field of animal husbandry of the Agriculture Ministry, told Report.az.
He noted that 230 horses contained in the Karabakh horse-breeding complex will pass the assessment. The ones that most closely match the breeding qualities of Karabakh horse will be selected among them for breeding.
In 2017, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev issued an order on additional support for the development of the Karabakh breed of horses. The Agriculture Ministry allocated 2 million manats ($1.18 million) from the reserve fund of the President for this purpose.
The Karabakh horse, originating in the Azerbaijani Karabakh region, is renowned for its good temper, loyalty, strength and speed.
Those are mountain horses, so they are not very tall, 1.48-1.52 meters. They are slim, with attractive faces and are kind and gentle by nature. Despite their delicate appearance, Karabakh horses are known for their stamina and they are very successful racers. Their suppleness also made them ideal for traditional games like Chovgan and Surpapag.
The refined beauty, strength, special grace of the Karabakh horses delighted artists, writers and poets, who reflected the uniqueness of this horse breed in their works.
One of the numerous publications on the Karabakh horses noted that "until the end of the 19th century the Karabakh horses were the beauty and pride of the Caucasus, worthy not only of the princely, but also of the royal saddle."
The Karabakh horse takes a pride place in various international competitions and contests, winning various prizes and medals.
Karabakh breed horses were repeatedly presented at the celebration of the anniversary of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reign in 2012. Before, the English queen received a golden horse of Karabakh as a gift in 1956. Last year, Azerbaijani riders on Karabakh horse took part in the 75th anniversary of the Royal Equestrian Show in Windsor in the UK.
At all times the Karabakh breed of horses was widely known. Specialists say that the Karabakh horse is one of the ancient breeds in Asia. And all the subsequent history of horse breeders worked on improving the horse. The greatest success was achieved in the 18th century.
Already at that time there was a stud farm in Karabakh. After the assassination of Nadir Shah in 1747, it became the property of the founder and first ruler of the Karabakh khanate, Panah Ali Khan. Historians say that this ruler really appreciated the Karabakh breed. Half a century later, in 1797, after the murder of Agha Muhammad Khan in Shusha, the best producers from his herd remained at the Karabakh stud farm.
The story of these horses is inextricably linked to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Unfortunately, these magnificent beasts can no longer be bred in the area from which they originated due to the Armenian occupation.
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh at the end of the 20th century put these horses at risk of extinction. The militants, who captured the beautiful city of Aghdam with a rich industry, destroyed it, including the prosperous stud farm.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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