The Hucul or Carpathian Pony is one of the oldest breeds of native ponies in Europe, resembling in appearance the wild Tarpan horse. The Hucul is heavily built with a compact body. The head is short, with expressive large eyes and lively ears. The neck is short and muscular and the back is strong. The chest is broad and the legs are short. The hooves are small and hard and do not require shoes. The coat is thick and coarse.
12.1 and 13.1 hands
The most common colors Huculs come in are black, chestnut, bay and dun while there might sometimes be a dorsal stripe or zebra markings on the legs.
The Hucul is docile pony with a trusting nature. It is sensible, willing to work, hardy and enduring of the harshest weather conditions. It is also very intelligent.
The Hucul is widely used as a working pony on farms in Poland. It is a hardy breed capable of working long hours. It is occasionally used for riding. Other activities the Hucul is used for include Hippotherapy (riding for the disabled), horse trekking, camping and ecological education.
It is a strong and hardy breed, resistant to illness and has no problem living outdoors all year round finding its own food. As it is a descendant of the wild Tarpan horse, the outdoors is its natural living environment, so Hucul owners that keep their ponies indoors should make sure to grant them frequent outdoor access.
The pony originated in the Carpathian mountains, near Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The breed got its name from the ethnic group of Hutsuls, although it should be noted that the breed is much older than the Hutsul people. The Hucul dates to the thirteenth century and is believed to be the outcome of a crossing between the wild Tarpan horse and Mongolian horses. In 1856 the first Hucul stud farm was founded in Romania. In 1922, thirty-three Huculs were sent to Czechoslovakia to establish a herd there. Today Huculs are mainly bred in Bucovina, Romania as well as Hungary and part of the former Soviet Union. In recent years the breed has started gaining popularity in England.
The Hucul was used and bred by various people along the Carpathians. As a result, different types of Huculs were developed. In the last century they have been cross bred with Arab horses. Huculs live on average 25-30 years.