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By Jeffery Garfield

Last updated: 5th July 2023

Lokai Horse


Jeffery Garfield
Last updated: 5th July 2023

The Lokai is a breed of small mountain horses developed in Tajikistan. Even though it has a small stature resembling the ponies, its head and other horse-like characteristics technically put it in the category of horses. It was created by mixing local breeds with European and Central Asian bloodlines. The Lokai horses are now kept in herds and are allowed to graze on pasture throughout the year so that they can turn into extremely tough horses.

Lokai Horse Pictures

Quick Information

Other Names Lokaiskaya
Temperament / Personality Loyal, true, gentle, alert, energetic, obedient
Physical Characteristics Not uniform in appearance and type; a short-sized head with either a slightly convex or straight profile, but sometimes the head can be coarse and bulky; medium-length neck that is lean and low set; broad and medium-length withers; short and straight back; conspicuous and muscular loin; a long, sloping, and solidly built croup; deep and broad chest with rounded ribs; solid and powerful legs (but not always soundly set) with hard hooves
Colors Gray, bay, and chestnut with golden highlights are common, but black and dun are also seen
Common Use For transportation across steep mountainous regions, widely used in racing, riding, and in the Central Asian sport of kokpar, also serves as a draft and pack horse
Lifespan/Life Expectancy On an average, it survives up to 25 years
Height (size) Stallions

  • Height at the withers: 14.2 hands (145 cm)
  • Oblique body length: 14.2 hands (145 cm)
  • Chest circumference: 162 cm
  • Cannon bone circumference: 19 cm


  • Height at the withers: 13.9 hands (142 cm)
  • Oblique body length: 14.17 hands (144 cm)
  • Chest circumference: 162 cm
  • Cannon bone circumference: 18 cm
Health No known breed-specific health concerns
Gaited Yes, has a well-balanced gallop but a short trotting movement
Popular Traits Extreme hardiness, high agility, strength, good action, multi-talented
Feeding/Diet The amount of food depends on the activity level of the horse; an average mature horse needs a balanced diet with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, energy, and water; supplemental protein including soybean and linseed meal can be added to grass and hay
Country of Origin Tajikistan (Formerly a part of the Soviet Union)
Ancestors Akhal-Teke, Karabair, Iomud, Turkmene
Year/Time of Development In the 16th century

History and Development

The origin of the Lokai horse dates back to the 16th century when it was developed by the Uzbek-Lokai tribesmen dwelling the mountainous regions of southern and central Tajikistan. With an objective to improve the local strain, the tribal people crossbred the native horses with some of the Central Asian breeds such as the Turkmene, Karabair, Iomud, and Akhal-Teke. The Lokai foals thus created had the combined traits of their progenitors, and were powerful, responsive, and enduring. Later, Thoroughbred, Tersk, and Arabian horses were introduced for further improvement of the breed.

Since its foundation, the Lokai has been in continuous development. Some of the horses with Farfor ancestry (a brown stallion with curly coat) bred during 1955-1970 have a curly coat. In Tajikistan, the Lokai mares are now bred with Thoroughbred and Arabian stallions to produce a new variety of saddlers.

Interesting Facts

  • The young Lokais are frequently tested for their swiftness on Tashkent and Dushanbe racetracks.
  • Experimental breeding projects are now investigating the genetic traits of the curly-coated Lokai horses.

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