The Yakut horses are the world’s only breed adapted to harsh Arctic conditions; the Yakuts, the northernmost horse-breeders, have been breeding them since ages ago.
The Yakuts’ ancestors came to today’s Yakutia territory from the southern regions of Siberia. Gradually, their culture including horse breeding adapted to the extreme weather conditions. The husbandry and cold climate formed a special breed of Yakut horse, which can find forage in pastures even at 50 and 60 degrees C scraping snow with their hooves. The horses of this breed are sturdy and can cover long distances without feed.
The great importance of horse breeding for the Yakuts is embodied in their diet. Kumiss and boiled meat are favorite treats at weddings and at the traditional Yssyakh feast closely related to the cult of horse. It is held in late June when nature awakes, a new issue appears, and mares are milked. Young birch trees and serge carved tethering posts are installed on the feast site, having not only a household but also a sacral meaning. The feast is accompanied by praising nature, glorification of patron deities of humans and livestock, and laudation of the horse.
The horse has one of the central places in the Yakut mythology. In folk tales, the Universe is presented in the image of a horse. Its head and neck are the Upper World, its belly is the Middle World, the tail is the Nether World, and the legs are the four corners of the earth.