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A Tokara horse with its head low and nose in the dirt.The Tokara is a native of Japan. It is used for riding and light draft. It stands 12 h.h.


Early in 1950, Dr. Shigeyuki Hayashida found a group of small horses living in the south side of the Tokara Islands and named they Tokara ponies. According to this man, around 1897 people from Kitaiga Island brought about ten native horses to Takara (not Tokara). They were used for farming, transportation of heavy objects, and in processing sugarcane grown in the area. In 1943, at the height of their popularity, the breed reached 100 head, but after World War II their numbers were reduced drastically.


Kagoshima Prefecture declared the ponies a prefectural national monument and sent them to the mainland for a time because of the difficult living conditions on the island. Today Kagoshima University, Iriki ranch, Kaimon National Park, and Nakano Island in the Tokara Islands are the centers for breeding and preservation of the Tokara pony. As of December 1988, a total of eighty-eight purebred animals remained.


Population Status: Rare



Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

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