Caspian stallion from Kelso in breed promotion role

Duncan Mcfadyen with Bytham Orient at Smailholm Tower, part of an international campaign to raise awareness of Caspian horses
Duncan Mcfadyen with Bytham Orient at Smailholm Tower, part of an international campaign to raise awareness of Caspian horses

A tiny stallion from Kelso will feature in an international calendar to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the rediscovery of the Caspian breed of horse in its native Iran by American Louise Firouz.

The Stichill Caspian Stud’s pure bred stallion Bytham Orient will be photographed in a typical Borders setting, being handled by rising equestrian star, Duncan McFadyen from Linton Downs, Morebattle.

The Stichill-based stud owner Anna Bergman explained: “Married to an Iranian prince, Louise Firouz was looking for suitable ponies for her children to ride when she found what she thought to be examples of the breed, which is believed to date back to 3000BC, but was thought to be extinct, beside the Caspian Sea. This began a quest to re-establish the breed in Iran and to seek international recognition for it, which she achieved with great success, but at much personal financial and physical cost.”

It’s 50 years since her discovery next year and to celebrate the anniversary and further promote the breed, London-based Iranian film director Farokh Khorooshi is producing a calendar featuring Caspian horses in beautiful settings throughout the world, in conjunction with Louise’s family, said Ms Bergman.

Working on the project with him is award-winning equine photographer, Colin Barker.

Breed enthusiast Ms Bergman continued: “Considered to be a national treasure in their native country by the Iranian Government, Caspians are very much horses despite their size, and are recognised for their conformation and bright, alert, intelligent but gentle temperaments, with their agile movement inherited from their mountainous origins making for excellent jumping and sporting abilities.

“While normally standing between 11 and 12 hands, they move like a horse and being narrower than most native ponies give a child a more comfortable ride.”

The breed is popular also with older owners no longer wanting a bigger horse, but who still want the pleasure of owning and breeding something special, she said.

For more information, contact Ms Bergman at Stichill Stud on 01573 470 635.