The Medimurje is a breed of horse that originated in Croatia in the late 1700s, early 1800s. The bloodline comes from native mares being bred with imported stallion breeds like, Noriker, Ardennes, Percheron and Brabant. The range of the breed was once spread out over a wide area of Habsburg Monarchy in northern Croatia, Zagorje, Podravina, southwestern Hungary, eastern Slovenia and eastern Austria.
The breed is an endangered species of horse with only about 40 living individuals in Croatia, a larger herd on the north side of the Mura River in Hungary and another herd in Slovenia.
The average height of the Medimurje horse is from 61 to 65 inches and the stallion can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. The head and ears are small, it has a short but strong neck, pronounced withers, powerful shoulders, a well-developed chest and sturdy legs. The usual colors are bay and seal brown, but may also be black.
It has a calm temperament, can be very affectionate, obedient and willing. The horse is used for pulling wagons and carts, or working in fields and forests. As farms began to use mechanical equipment more, the breed has been used for its meat increasingly.
Recent studies into the genetic make up of the horse, researchers used mitochondrial (energy creating cells) DNA from both Croatian and Hungarian populations. The analysis revealed that the Medimurje is linked to mostly neighboring cold-blooded breads.
Image Caption: Medimurje Horse. Credit: Silverije/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)