Home / Japanese Horses / Miyako Pony

By Jeffery Garfield

Last updated: 5th July 2023

Miyako Pony


Jeffery Garfield
Last updated: 5th July 2023

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.

Miyako Pony Pictures

Quick Information

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
Ancestors Mongolian Horse

Video: Miyako Ponies in a Ranch

History and Development

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.

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