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Basotho Pony

Country of Origin: Lesotho

Basotho Pony

Image from wagga_caro


The Basotho Pony, also called Basuto is native to an enclave of South Africa called Lesotho. An inhospitable climate, high altitude & steep terrain have created an incredibly hardy, capable little animal.

Basotho Pony

Image from Kapstadt


This breed comes from the Cape Horse of South Africa which came to the Cape in the mid 17th century & are of Java background. They do display influence of with strong Persian & Arabian strains, although it is unclear if it was introduced to the animals prior to being imported to the area or later to enhance bloodlines. The tough local conditions & good foundation stock created a native animal with good endurance & a strong constitution.

By the late 19th century the Basotho Pony was known among Europeans as a breed or type. They were exported to the UK & Europe for use as war horses where they were prized for their endurance & low-maintenance care.

Modern Basotho

The people of Lesotho take pride in their animals & often horseback is the most suitable form of transport over steep terrain. The adaptable little horses have also been used for trekking tourists & light agricultural work. Like many breeds, the 20th Century saw less demand for horseflesh & there was no official effort was made to maintain the breed. Pureblood numbers further dwindled due to disease & undocumented crossbreeding.

In 1977 the breed was facing extinction. A rigerous breeding program called the Basotho Pony Project was established, assisted by the Irish Government. Formed in response to a demand for the Basotho Pony from several neighbouring countries. In 1978 the National Stud was established, a combined effort of the Lesotho & Irish governments. These programs have been successful – the breed is still with us & not on the decline.


Average height 14.2 hands
Compact, sturdy & surefooted


Head is medium sized with a heavy jaw & straight profile
Neck is long & slender
Back is long & straight
Chest is deep & shoulder is straight
Legs are slim & strong with clean joints
Hooves are very hard

Traditional Colors

chestnut | grey | bay


Spirited & intelligent
Amiable & friendly

Basotho Pony


Pack pony
Riding pony

Basotho Pony Products

Helpful Links

*All links open in a new window
Malealea Lodge
The State of the Basotho Pony in Lesotho


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Country of Origin: Lesotho | Colors: , ,
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