The Azerbaijan incorporates various types, including the Karabakh, the Shirvan, the Quba and the Daliboz horses, which are named after the precise regions they hail from.
Although these different strains were refined during the 18th and 19th centuries, there is evidence to suggest that the Karabakh dates back as early as the 8th century when the conquerors acquired these chestnut-coloured horses by the thousand.
The breed is an old saddle horse with a long history in native Azerbaijan and is described by many as a herd animal. Its exact forebears are a relative mystery, although judging by the physicality of the horse it is reasonable to suggest Arabian blood is included somewhere in its genetic make-up.
Well suited to a hot and mountainous landscape, the Azerbaijan horse boasts stamina, strength and a distinctive appearance and structure. Typically, this breed is 14-15 hands with a narrow frame, a relatively small head and a glossy coat in colours of bay or chestnut. Its temperament is described as highly-strung and unstable, although this is difficult to judge as the gene pool today remains small.
The traditional and modern-day Azerbaijan is used as a riding and mountain-steppe racing horse and is particularly noted for its ability to reach high speeds very quickly. A record was set at the Agdam Stud in 2004 when a Karabakh horse ran 1600m in 1 minute, 52 seconds.
The Azerbaijan is prized in its homeland and is considered a national treasure. It features on postage stamps and in literature, and even on the coat of arms of Azerbaijani football club, Karabakh Aghdam FK.
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