The Horse Is a Mainstay of Siberian Life
midwinter in the Siberian taiga, just north of the Arctic
circle. The temperature is bitterly cold. In a forest
clearing a group of horses paw at the snow with their hooves
to feed on the grasses buried beneath. Their breath freezes
instantly in the cold air, and a thick layer of ice has
formed in the hair around their nostrils and mouth. Short,
stocky, and fat, the animals appear to be in good condition.
Horses might not be a sight normally associated with this
harsh environment, but this hardy breed--known as "Yakut"--thrives
in the Siberian Republic of Sakha (more commonly known as
Yakutia). Remarkably, these horses fend for themselves
during the long and bitter Siberian winters. They require no
shelter or supplementary feeding, even though the region has
the coldest climate in the entire Northern Hemisphere.