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THE CASPIAN HORSE OF IRAN

Several years ago word spread that a new breed of horse, like a miniature Arabian. had
been found on the shores of the Caspian in Iran.

Louise Firouz:

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In 1965 five Caspian ponies were brought to Louise Firouz in Tehran for riding by her children.

Louise Firouz was born in Washington, graduated at Cornell where she studied animal husbandry. classics, and English. In ) ‘157 she married Narcy Firouz and moved to Tehran where she is occupied in farming and raising horses. Following the arrival of the five Caspians, a three-year survey was begun to search for more of these horses. She covered part of an area from Astara to Pahlevi-Dej located east of the Caspian. About :0 ponies are estimated to live between Babol and Amol (Map 1).

Six mares and five stallions were brought to the breeding farm at Norouzabad near Tehran.

In 1966 a stud book was established to encourage purity ‘Of the strain. Dr. Hosseinion, Tehran Veterinary College, regularly inspects foals and adults. The similarity between the Caspian and the horses pulling the chariot of Darius and the ponies on a bas-relief at Persepolis is significant. The above has been summarized from the illustrated article by Louise Firouz in Animals, June, 1970 (see Bibliography).

My interest in horses ancient and modem stems from the Equidae excavated at Kish, eight miles east of Babylon, by the Field Museum-Oxford University Joint Expedition to Iraq, 1923-34. In 1928 I was one of the Staff members of this Expedition under Field Director Louis Charles Watelin. In Y Trench we found the oldest wheeled vehicles with the animals in the shafts (see FMNH Anthropology Leaflet No. 28).

I sent the skull and bones of the Equidae to Dr. J. Wolfgang Amschler, Director, lnstitut fur Bodenkultur, Vienna. Here is the largest collection of Equidae for comparative study.

In addition to the article listed in the Bokonyi Bibliography, the following by Amschler were placed on microfilm in the American Documentation Institute (ADI), clo Photoduplication Service, Library of Congress, where a copy may be purchased.

The Equidae were returned to Field Museum of Natural History. The Kish fauna especially my collection from Y Trench. is now being restudied by Dr. Charles Reed in Chicago.

References to horses are given in my monograph entitled. Contributions to the Anthropology of Iran, Vols. 1-2, pp. 176.182.187.190.198.203.218. Field Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Series. Vol. 29. nos. 1-2, 1939. Edition in Farsi. Franklin Book Program. Tehran. 1965.

During the Peabody Museum Harvard Expedition to the Near East. 1950. I was guided C to two sinkholes near Haditha in northern Iraq. Here with the assistance of Dennis Batten. Iraq Petroleum Company. we collected hundreds of animal bones including a fine series of Equidae. These are in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Harvard.

Attention must also be called to the monograph on Kish by Dr. McGuire Gibson based on his Thesis submitted to the Oriental Institute. (University of Chicago. This will be published
shortly by Field Research Projects.

With regard to modem horses. I was brought up in High Leicester-shire with my stepfather. Major A. E. Burnaby. as Master of the Quorn Hounds.

During research throughout Southwestern Asia. I have seen many Arab horses belonging to Rulers and Paramount Sheikhs of great Beduin tribes of the desert.

Thus. the discovery of a new breed of horses near the Caspian was of the greatest interest. The retyping and proofreading were done by Mrs. Kathryn Rushing. We are grateful for
her expert assistance.

Mrs. Eva Nyqvist typed the manuscript on her IBM “Composer” in Palo Alto. California. Her multilingual knowledge and technical skill have produced the text for photo-offset by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor.

We are grateful to Louise Firouz for assembling this material. We are indeed pleased to publish these Reports on the Caspian horse under the imprint of Field Research Projects.

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