Keywords: horse breeding, conservation of biodiversity, Polesie horses, measurements, conformation, genetic resources


Introduction. Polesie horses belong to the group of local populations that are formed under the strong influence of natural conditions. Although the exact date of the beginning of the breeding of aboriginal horses in Polesie is unknown, it has been established that from ancient times this area was inhabited by Slavic land-slave tribes, who were also engaged in horse breeding. It is known that Polesie horses for a long time were bred "in themselves" in terms of feeding mostly roughage, poor maintenance and overload. This led to a decrease in their size, the appearance of exterior-constitutional features and at the same time developed high adaptive qualities, unpretentiousness, indefatigability in work [2, 3]. In Ukraine, research on the state of the Polesie horse population was not conducted until 2019. To date, several expeditionary surveys of the Ukrainian Polesie have been conducted in order to find typical representatives of the Polesie population of horses, which in constitution and exterior are close to the representatives of the breed described in the literature earlier [8].

The aim of the research. To study the main characteristics of the Polesie population and to develop a target standard of the main features of horses.

Materials and methods of research. The materials for the research were literary and scientific sources that contain information about the horses of the Belarusian Polesie and the results of their own research, which were conducted in the stable "Shcherbaty Tsugli" (Kyiv region).

Taking into account traditional and modern methods of evaluation of horses, the parameters of input information were analyzed and substantiated to determine the main characteristics of the Polesie population: type, measurements, linear features of exterior, movements and temperament, 10-point evaluation of exterior type and constitution. rating scale and characteristics of work productivity (level of nervous balance, endurance, ability to cooperate with the rider).

The exterior of the horses of the Polesie population was described according to 32 linear indicators. A special form has been developed for data collection, which includes measurements, linear features and a score.The main measurements of the body of horses (mares) were taken: height at the withers, chest girth, wrist girth. Comparative analysis of measurements of modern horses of Ukrainian Polesie with the animal population of the Belarusian part of the region (Western and Eastern Polesie) and the first detailed description during the Soviet Union was carried out using literary sources [1, 2, 3].

Research results. A survey of horses of the Polesie population was conducted on the basis of the the stable "Shcherbaty Tsugli", where 15 horses are currently kept, including: 7 mares and 5 foals of the current year of birth. It was established that the type of surveyed livestock suited to the primary (original) type: proportional head with expressive eyes; neck output average; withers average; straight shoulder; back and loins medium, straight; croup normal, slightly lowered, on the hind limbs, sickle hocked easily expressed; hoof horn dense and strong; the constitution is dry and strong, the structure of the body is harmonious, the muscles are well developed, the tendons are well developed, strong [2]. Most horses are black or black-roan(53%), bay (33%), gray (7%) and chestnut (7%). Some horses have a strap on their back and zebra bars on the legs. By temperament - animals react calmly to external stimuli and do not show any aggression towards humans. It should be noted that the available breeding stock showed good endurance - this year there was a 10-day horse trek for a distance of 350 km.

A comparative analysis of measurements of mares of the modern population of Ukrainian Polesie with those kept in Belarus and the described Polesie horses in the 50s of the last century was carried out [1, 2]. According to the average measurements, the horses of the Ukrainian population are slightly lower in height at the withers by 4.3 cm (p < 0.001), but according to other measurements the difference is insignificant and unlikely: the chest circumference is 1.1 cm narrower and the wrist circumference is 0.1 cm compared with Belarusian [1, 2]. In terms of chest circumference, the horses of the Belarusian and Ukrainian populations predominate by 6.9 and 5.8 cm, respectively, of the animals described in the last century, which may be due to the improvement of the forage base and changes in the conditions of use.

Taking into account the above, it can be concluded that despite the use of the method of crossing with other breeds in the past, horses of both Ukrainian and Belarusian Polesie have preserved a similar exterior-constitutional type. The same opinion is held by other researchers, who believe that only those animals that had a certain size and exterior features could adapt to the conditions of Polesie [1, 4, 5, 8].

Based on the results of our research and analysis of literature sources, the target standard for horses of the Polesie population was developed. According to the developed standard, horses of the Polesie population should be short, bony, with a pronounced original or light type, dry strong constitution, with an elongated body shape and well-developed joints. Desired color: bay, brown, roan and mouse. Allures are medium in width, but uniform and balanced. It should be noted the importance of taking into account when selecting horses in the reproductive composition of such a feature as temperament. It must be balanced and non-aggressive. This is important for the further development of equestrian tourism in the region and for the future use of horses in the Polesie population.

Conclusions. According to the assessment of horses of the Polesie population, which were selected as a result of the expeditionary survey, it was established that the study of animals by type corresponds to the primary (original) type. By color - most horses are black, roan and bay. The studied herd of horses was characterized by good development of the main part of the body, dry and strong constitution, sufficient development of muscle tissue and a calm balanced temperament. The available breeding stock also showed good endurance during long-distance horseback riding. The mares of the Ukrainian Polesie were 4.3 cm (p < 0.001) inferior to the horses of the Belarusian part in height at the withers, but no significant difference was found in other measurements. An important stage in the recovery of the Polesie population of horses is the development of the target standard for the organization of effective selection of mares and stallions. The standard consists of a description of the desired type, basic colors, measurements, exterior features, movements and temperament. This will make it possible to effectively select representatives of this population.


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Conservation of Animal Biodiversity