Equus Przewalskii - Kertag

(Mongolian Group Of Horses)

Photo of a Kertag
(Prague ZOO 1951)

      According to excavations, it is evident that various forms of prehistoric horses lived well into historical times. Due to the advancing human culture/civilization these horses vanished from the face of the Earth forever. Only one prehistoric form of horse survived to today, living in central Asia around lake Lob-Nor. Approximately 180 years ago, this horse was brought to our attention by an explorer named Pallas, who named this horse Equus ferus Pall. His records led us to find these horses still living in European Russia on the Samarian steppe at that time. These horses were later mixed with wild domestic horses. 
    In 1880, a famous Russian geographer and explorer, Nikolaj Michaljovitch Przewalskii, again rediscovered this prehistoric horse in the “Jungarian” dessert. He sent a skin of one of the horses to the museum of Academic Science in Petrograd. Accordingly, a zoologist, Poljanov, named the horse in the Almanac of the Geographical Society of 1881, the Przewalskii Horse, Equus Przewalskii. This name is commonly known and used today. Kirgiz people call this horse “Kertag”; the Mongolians call him “tage” and the Chinese “yema”.
        Upon comparing the skeletons and the skulls of these prehistoric animals with today’s Mongolian and Kirgiz domestic horses, it is evident that the entire foundation of the Mongolian Group is based on the Kertag.

     When and where the Kertag was actually domesticated cannot be realistically confirmed. The old Chinese writings around 3468 B.C. contain information  that the emperor “Fo-She” started a domesticated horse in China. This is, however, a myth, and archeologists claim there were no drawings of horses in China around the year 2500 B.C.

Domestic Mongolian horses Kertag type
(Z Georg. Magazine 1928)

     The actual reproduction of domestic horses in China had not begun until around 2000 B.C. In and around that time, horses were domestically reproduced by other culturally developed nations of Central Asia as well. The ancestry of ‘Kertag” to the Eastern Asian horse cannot be scientifically proven, however it is plausible that the plastic-like pictures/carvings from Old China do indeed depict this particular horse.

     Central Asia was more likely the place Kertag was bred into a domestic horse. Known for it’s endurance, it was this horse that served the Mongolian invasion of Europe. Evidence of excavations in Europe toward the end of the medieval era, display distinct characteristics of Kertag.

     The Mongolian steppe horses in north China, Manchuria and Tibet with huge herds of Kirgiz horses on the Kirghiz steppes in central Asia are today distinctly showing this type of Kertag/Equus Przewalskii

Edited by A.R. March 16, 2004

Translated by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a. Lee Stanek from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.