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Los caballos más pequeños del mundo

Posted by: Berenice Heredia | 12 Octubre 2009 |

El Falabella es uno de los caballos más pequeños del mundo y el más popular de los equinos denominados miniatura por sus proporciones armónicas. No es un pony ni está clasificado como tal.

Se diferencia de otras razas miniatura en que los Falabella no requieren ninguna intervención humana

durante la gestación para asegurar que los potrillos tengan un tamaño pequeño y armónico, con las mismas cualidades de un caballo de altura normal, mientras que otros equinos pueden transmitir una estructura, temperamento y conformación irregular a sus descendientes. Esta naturaleza fija de sus características genéticas es lo que ha establecido la característica de raza y ha logrado su reconocimiento internacional.

La característica más destacada de los Falabella, además de su increíble resistencia a las más duras condiciones -mayor a la de muchos caballos de alzada normal-, es su temperamento tranquilo y amistoso y su capacidad de ajustarse al ambiente que lo rodea. La raza es muy dócil y gentil con el contacto humano en un plazo corto, pese a su pasado salvaje.

Se acostumbra tenerlos como mascotas -incluso algunos responden por su nombre, como los perros-, ya que pueden vivir en espacios reducidos, como un parque o una chacra de poca superficie. Se los usa para exhibición debido a su gran inteligencia para aprender rutinas, o para tirar de pequeños vehículos. En cambio, no son útiles como caballos de silla.

Si viven en un lugar de bajas temperaturas, producirán un pelo grueso que los protege del frío; por el contrario, en verano su pelaje se hace más ralo y fino, como el de los Pura Sangre.

Los Falabella están disponibles a la venta normalmente después de los dos años de edad, cuando han completado su crecimiento. Como la expectativa de vida de los Falabella es normalmente mayor que la de un caballo de alzada normal -alcanza entre 40 y 45 años-, su actividad reproductiva es también mas prolongada. Su altura promedio varía entre 70 cm y 77 cm en los caballos jóvenes, entre 2 y 3 años de edad. Los Falabella adultos miden entre 76 m y 83 cm. Los caballos más altos o más bajos son excepcionales. La cabeza está proporcionada con el tamaño del cuerpo del animal, aunque a veces resulta excesivamente grande. Los corvejones son flojos y demasiado juntos entre sí. Su paso es espontáneo y muy energético. Tiene pezuñas pequeñas y angostas, de forma oval. Su pelo es fino, largo y sedoso, aunque no tan resistente como el del Shetland. En tanto, su piel es delgada y flexible. La crin es corta, abundante y lacia, así como la cola. Algunos veterinarios encontraron evidencias de que el Falabella sólo tiene 17 vértebras torácicas, en lugar de 18 como la mayoría de los caballos. Asimismo, muchas de sus características esqueléticas son similares a las de los caballos Árabes o los Morgan. Hay una amplia gama de colores para la raza. Los blancos, los marrones o los zainos (negros o castaños oscuros) son los más comunes, pero también pueden encontrarse pintos, tordos, bayos o castaños.

Historia: Su origen se remonta a los caballos andaluces que los españoles trajeron consigo a las pampas argentinas en la época de la conquista. Este tipo de caballo, rústico y resistente, fue abandonado más tarde tras los primeros intentos infructuosos de los españoles por colonizar estas tierras. Los animales comenzaron a vagar en las espaciosas llanuras, sufriendo procesos biológicos y cambios estructurales necesarios para adaptarse a sus nuevas condiciones de vida, que implicaban moverse grandes distancias para encontrar agua y pasturas.La evolución le dio una resistencia incomparable y una intuición muy acertada que lo protegía de las persecuciones de los aborígenes o de los pumas. Estos factores, además de la continua reproducción entre los mismos ejemplares, causaron mutaciones genéticas en las sucesivas generaciones, que resultaron en el tipo de caballo que los ancestros de la familia Falabella vieron por primera vez a mediados del siglo XIX en las tropillas de los indios en el sur de la Argentina. Después de muchos años de cruzas y selección, la familia logró una tropilla de pequeños caballos de estructura armoniosa, manteniendo las mismas proporciones que aquellos animales que los Falabella habían adquirido en un principio. Para mejorar la raza, la cruzó con Shetlands europeos. Muchos de estos pequeños caballos tienen manchas parecidas a las de la raza Appaloosa, por lo que muchas personas creen que la raza desciende de ese tipo de caballo de origen norteamericano. Sin embargo, la explicación reside en que es posible que los Criollos y los Petisos, así como otros animales nativos, hayan contribuido a las tropillas originales. Con cada generación de los Falabella los animales iban ganando en armonía y reduciendo su altura. Después de 1940, Julio C. Falabella inició un registro con detalles genealógicos para algunos de sus caballos. A inicios de la década del ‘50 la raza comenzó a expandirse internacionalmente. En 1962, vendió algunos caballos al presidente de Estados Unidos en aquel entonces, John F. Kennedy y de esta manera este hermoso animal se hizo conocido en todo el mundo. Su resistencia a arduas condiciones climáticas hizo que haya podido desarrollarse en cualquier lugar del planeta.

under: Ambiente y Sociedad

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