Konik photo
Konik horses
Photograph by GerardM. License: GNU.


The Konik is a compact horse breed originating in Poland. It has a well proportioned, muscular body, strong bone structure and rectangular frame. The head is light, with a straight profile and placed upon a short, thick neck. The chest is wide and deep, the hindquarters oval and muscular and the legs short and strong. The mane and tail are quite dense.

12.3 to 13.3 hands

Koniks are usually dun and many have primitive markings such as a dorsal stripe and zebra markings on their legs.

The Konik combines the independence and pride of the wild Tarpan with a kind and friendly nature. It is intelligent, eager to learn and hardworking. Koniks are even tempered and get along very well with people, including children.

Suitable for
The breed is used for draft work. They are very important working animals and are bred specifically for such purposes in Poland and close by countries. They are also perfectly suited for riding. Their friendly disposition and small shape makes them excellent mounts for children. Lately, Koniks have been used by the Polish Academy of Sciences to help restore several ecosystems.

Koniks are descendants of the wild Tarpan horse and have maintained many of its wild characteristics. As a result, they are a hardy breed, able to survive in the harshest conditions. Although there are many Konik herds roaming freely and taking care of themselves, in captivity they are no different than other horses. They require lots of food and water and even more outdoors access than other breeds as the pasture is their natural habitat. There they can graze, socialize, exercise and express their wild nature.

Although not a truly wild horse, the Konik is related to the wild Tarpan horse. It also appears to be related to the Hucul pony. The breed's ancestors were caught in the 19th century in the forest of Bialowieza in Poland. These horses were initially kept in the game preserve of Zwierzyniec. When the preserve closed, the horses were given to farmers who did not do a very good job looking after them. As a result, these horses maintained many of their Tarpan ancestors' characteristics and became independent and hardy. Konik horses have been introduced in many nature reserves in Europe and have helped in their restoration.

The Polish Academy of Science is to be credited for the preservation of the Konik breed. Thanks to them, these horses were introduced in many nature reserves were they are able to roam freely and reproduce and their numbers are no longer threatened. They live on average 25-30 years, although there have been records of Konics with larger lifespans.