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Seal of King Darius
Seal of King Darius
"It now seems certain that the small Caspian horses' characteristics were highly valued at the time of King Darius and recorded on many monuments of that time."
-- HRH Prince Philip

What did King Darius, King Ardashir, H.I.H. Shah Reza Pahlavi, Queen Elizabeth II and H.R.H. Prince Philip all have in common, besides being royalty? They all owned the same breed of horse, hence the Royal Caspian!

The Golden Horse In ancient history, the Caspian Horse graced the seal of King Darius the Great, was offered to Persian kings as treasured gifts, decorated the walls of ancient palaces, and were used in royal ceremonies. The little horse was highly prized.

As observed on the trilingual seal of King Darius the Great, 600 BC, a small horse is depicted pulling the King's chariot as he shoots arrows at a fierce lion. It was important for King Darius to have a horse that was agile and quick and reflected well upon his own athletic prowess and courage.

King Shapur is depicted on a bas relief as being carried in triumph by the Caspian, with the King's feet nearly touching the ground.

Oxus Treasure
Oxus Treasure
Another relief shows the investiture of King Ardashir with the small Caspian horses.

In the Oxus Treasure, small horses are portrayed in gold pulling a royal golden chariot.

In more recent history, the Shah of Iran hosted a celebration in 1971 at the ancient palace of Persepolis. During this celebration, Prince Philip and Princess Anne visited the Royal Stables, which also housed Caspian Horses. They watched 5 year old children race the Caspian stallions, which was quite impressive to the British Royal guests

HRH Prince Philip
HRH Prince Philip
During this visit, Prince Philip expressed his concern about the rare breed, so small in numbers, being vulnerable because they were only located in one country and region. Little did he know how prophetic his concerns were, because several years later the Revolutionary War broke out in Iran, making future exports of the Caspian Horse almost impossible.

The Shah of Iran presented Prince Philip with a pair of Caspians, which were exported to Great Britain. Prince Philip was instrumental in helping export several small shipments to Great Britain before the Iranian Revolution. It is from those crucial shipments that most Caspian Horses were bred outside of Iran in the last 20 years.

Queen Elizabeth Presenting Caspian Ribbons
Queen Elizabeth Presenting Caspian Ribbons
The Caspians participate in various Royal Events and Queen Elizabeth has presented ribbons at several Caspian Breed Shows.

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