About the Breed
The Yili horse originated in the Yili-Kazakh Autonomous District, Xinjiang Uygur region of China. In China the breed is classified as a “developed breed” and is considered a new breed. The breed resulted from the crossbreeding of Russian stock with native horses of the region.
Since the turn of the century, Russian immigrants to Kazakh endeavored to improve the local stock with Russian stallions. In 1936, the local government decided to import Don, Orlov Trotter and Anglo-Don horse to cross with the local breeds. However, the crosses did not result in quality animals through the second generation.
In 1963 a draft-riding type was finally determined to be the goal for the new breed. Interbreeding the horses with the desired type has established the breed and the population has increased. The Yili has great endurance and can travel long distances at a good rate of speed.
Yili horses are compact and harmonious in conformation with a light head and straight profile. The neck is of average length and slightly arched in males; the withers are well pronounced and blend smoothly into the back. The back is short and strong; the loin is longer than usual; the ribs are well spring; the chest is deep; the shoulder has good slope. The legs are clean with well-defined tendons; the front legs are correctly set and well muscled while the hind legs tend to be sickled and some toe out. The body coat is light and fine, often showing a metallic sheen. They are found mainly bay in color with chestnut, black and gray also seen. They stand an average of 14 hands.