The horse, the Kyrgyz horse and the ‘Kyrgyz horse'

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2009. The horse, the Kyrgyz horse and the ‘Kyrgyz horse'. Anthropology Today, 25(1), pp. 12-15. ISSN 0268540X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In 1901, colonial officials writing in the Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan observed that the native ponies were ‘small and coarse’, and that ‘no pains were taken in their breeding’. In 1908 this criticism was confirmed and elaborated: ‘The young stallions are allowed to run wild with the mares and fillies, and no care whatever is taken in selecting suitable mature beasts for propagating the breed.’ Perceived carelessness in horse-breeding prompted a number of interventions by the British in India. In 1839, for example, an Arab stallion and eight mares were supplied in order to ‘improve’ the Manipuri breed. None of them survived more than a few years (Clarence Smith 2004). To the west, Soviet agricultural managers introduced Russian thoroughbreds and Arabians to increase the quality and size of ponies in Central Asian states via the All-Union Research Institute for Horse Breeding (VNIIK). The idea that small ponies in mountainous regions with poor pasture may be well adapted to local conditions did not fit with imperial and Soviet notions of improvement, bureaucratic solutions and systematic intervention in animals’ (and peoples’) lives.

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Date Deposited:

24 May 2011 13:53

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 10:51

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