Last time, I asked if it's possible to breed a five-gaited horse as hardy and adaptable as a Yakutian horse. Turns out that it's not as straightforward as initially assumed. It seems that not all Icelandics have the gene for the fifth ambling gait, a feature that made this breed popular in medieval Europe. Nor are all Yakutians made equal, as some populations are better at dealing with environmental extremes than others. But with enough generations, it IS possible for a hybrid horse to have a fifth gait like an Icelandic that can deal with the entire environmental spectrum like a Yakutian.

But that is only Stage I, and here is why: I have seen no evidence of either breed being used for war or labor, and at 13-14 hands tall (52-56 inches), they're still a little on the small side. So here is the candidate for Stage II:

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The Shire.

As you can see from the image, the breed is tall enough for a human to crane himself upwards to see its face. The tallest on record was a gelding named Goliath, who stood 19 hands (76 inches) tall at the shoulders until his death in 2001. The Shire belongs to a type called the "draft horses", and they have a great capacity for pulling weight.

But if I were to breed a Shire with an Ice-Yakut (I'll work on the name later), the foal would be of an intermediate size--anywhere between 13 and 17 hands tall, larger than an Ice-Yakut but still smaller than a Shire.

This Ice-Yakut/Shire hybrid will...

  • Pull a great deal of weight
  • Carry the rider over long distances
  • Bear the fifth gait, an amble that takes more comfort and less energy than the other four gaits
  • Drive warriors into battle
  • Be able to withstand the entire environmental spectrum, from hot to cold

Will this series of breeding check all on the list out, or would it result in some unintentional side effects that outweigh the benefit, thus rendering the whole experiment a failure?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this as a duplicate of The Multi-Purpose Horse: Stage I: Icelandic x Yakutian because, unfortunately, the 10 vote answer which wasn't accepted is the actual correct answer and it applies to this question exactly, just like it apply to to every cross breeding question. (Definition of duplicate: if they have the same (potential) answers. This includes not only word-for-word duplicates, but also the same idea expressed in different words) $\endgroup$ – Aify May 28 '18 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ From what I understand even amongst Icelandic horses, the ability to tölt isn't universal. $\endgroup$ – Pinback May 28 '18 at 9:47
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeNichols The accepted answer on the duplicate is not the "correct" answer. OP has chosen to accept an answer which satisfies himself but doesn't accurately reflect the reality of the question and it's true answer, which can be dumbed down to "Genetics is a crapshoot." That answer sufficiently answers this question, therefore, making this a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Aify May 28 '18 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Aify The OP hardly wanted an answer that just says that genetics is unpredictable. The fact that it is or isn't doesn't dictate whether or not you can breed X and Y to get Z. The accepted answer tells the OP that it is possible, which is what he wanted to find out, then elaborates on the subject by telling him some things to consider when breeding the horses. Just because genetics is a "crapshoot" as you say, it doesn't mean that Basset hounds weren't successfully bred for short legs, or that breeding cats for rat-catching failed. However, they succeeded because of selective breeding. $\endgroup$ – SealBoi May 29 '18 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ Two questions resulting in the same answer does NOT make them duplicates To make my point: "does 1+1=2?" and "does 8÷4=2?" are NOT the same questions. HOWEVER!!!! This whole situation is made worse by non-experts giving mediocre answers and then complaining that the same mediocre answer is applicable. John, you're asking questions that can only be answered by experts in breeding horses and you're getting poor answers because none of us are, which strongly suggests both questions should have been asked with the hard-science tag to filter those answers out. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jul 21 '18 at 19:28

Why do you need an all in one horse? Horse specialisations exist because people valued certain characteristics over others.

I'm guessing your size stipulation is down to the criterion that they will be used for war. Horses designated as war horses in Medieaval times weren't a breed, more a collection of traits deemed useful for riders wearing heavy armour and were around 14-15 hands, much smaller than popular fiction has us believe. The wealthy would go to war on Destrier - this would mean a sturdy short backed horse with powerful haunches, a package that would ensure the horse was nimble and agile even with a fully armoured rider. For the less well off there were the Rouncy - all rounders that excelled at nothing in particular - it could be a lowly pack animal, daily transportation, and even go to war. Though, you got what you paid for, Destrier would run circles around it.

In other words what you are asking for is a tall Rouncy that can tölt. The gene behind tölt is discussed here.

So the answer to your question is to take 2 horses that have the characteristics you want and then go through a selective breeding program spanning generations of horses.


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