The Miyako pony is a breed from Miyako Island, Japan. It is a rare pony and is one of the eight breeds native to Japan. The island has been known for a breeding ground for horses dating back centuries.
Small horses have been in the area for a long time and during World War II they were crossed with large stallions to increase their size for farming. In 1955 there were around 10,000 Miyako ponies, but the increasing use of motor vehicles and horse meat being a delicacy caused a decline in the population.
By 1983, only seven ponies were left. With conservation efforts implemented, the population grew to 25 by 1993, but dropped to 19 by 2001. The Japanese government protects the breed and it is listed as “Critical-Maintained.”
The pony stands around 56 inches high and is usually bay or dun. They share a strong resemblance to the Mongolian horse. The eyes are small compared to the head which is usually straight. It has a short neck, deep chest and a straight back. The mane and tail are usually black and thick. The main use for the pony is riding, but they are also used for light work.
Image Caption: Miyako pony. Credit: Haidonan/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.0)