The Miyako pony (Miyako uma in Japanese) is a rare equine breed native to the Japanese island of Miyako in the Okinawa Prefecture. These small ponies, considered a rare breed, are now listed as “Critical” or “Critical-Maintained” by the government of Japan.
|Other Names||Miyako Horse|
|Temperament/Personality||Gentle, willing, docile|
|Physical Characteristics||Large, heavy head; short neck, wide, sturdy body; dense mane and tail; short legs with good joints; strong, hard hooves|
|Colors||Bay or dun are common|
|Height (size)||Approximately, 14 hands (142.2 cm, 56 in) at the withers|
|Weight||Up to 600 lb|
|Common Uses||Light draft work, farming, riding|
|Health||No known breed-specific health issues|
|Popular Traits||Strength, hardiness, equable temperament|
|Feeding/Diet||Hay, pasture, fat supplemented diet or grain diet|
|Country of Origin||Miyako Island, Japan|
The Miyako pony, one of the eight indigenous breeds of Japan, is thought to have evolved from Mongolian horses. During the World War II, the need for large farm horses increased, and as a result, breeders crossed these native ponies with larger stallions.
The Miyako horse population peaked in 1955 at 10,000 heads. However, as the Japanese economy recovered after the WWII, mechanization of cultivation and conveyance in agricultural sector increased. Therefore, the farm horses lost their roles, which caused a decline in their population.
Being an ancient breed, special efforts have been taken to safeguard the remaining horses. In 1983, only 7 ponies remained but increased to 25 heads by 1993. It is believed that there are less than 20 Miyako ponies left today.