Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 70-300mm @139mm, 1/800sec, F/5.6, ISO-400
Location: Lelystad, Netherlands, Europe
Date: October 21/2011
Nature Reserve The Oostvaardesplassen
The Konik or Polish primitive horse is a small horse, a kind of semi-feral horse, originating in Poland. The Polish word konik (plural koniki) is the diminutive of koń, the Polish word for “horse”. The name “konik” or “Polish konik” is used to refer to certain specific breeds. Koniks show many primitive markings including a dun coat and dorsal stripe.
In 1936, Professor Tadeusz Vetulani of Poznań University began attempts to breed the recently extinct tarpan back to its original state. To achieve this he used horses from the Biłgoraj area descended from wild tarpans captured in 1780 in Białowieża Forest and kept until 1808 in Zamoyski zoo. These had later been given to local peasants and crossbred with domestic horses. The Polish government commandeered all the koniks that displayed tarpan-like features. The result of this selective breeding program is that semi-wild herds of koniks can be seen today in many nature reserves and parks, and can also be seen in the last refugium in Białowieża Forest.