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Horse Breeds
First Posted: July 24, 2009
Sep 30, 2010

Yonaguni or Yonaguni uma Pony

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Country of Origin:Japan

The Yonaguni or Yonaguni uma is one of eight pony breeds native to Japan. It is found on the southwest island if Yonaguni. The breed is small, 11 hh, and rare. There are less than 200 living in Japan today.

The Yonaguni horses are one of the smaller breeds of Japan. The larger group is from Hokkaido. It is thought that the Yanaguni horses date back 2,000 years. Professor Ken Nozawa of Kyoto University claimed in 1983 that the gene characteristics of the breed indicated relationship to the Cheju breed in Korea.

Physical Description

The ponies are generally chestnut in color. They have a large head, wide, well placed eyes, small ears, a short thick neck, shoulders that are non sloping. They long coupled with a long back and straight croup (not sloping). The tail is set high. They tend to be slight in the hindquarters, the forelegs tend to splay. Their hooves are hard, strong, and cone shaped--long. They are gentle, have excellent endurance, are intelligent and strong.


These ponies were used in agriculture and hauling, but not now. They are used for animal therapy and aesthetics. The breed is now carefully managed.

Interesting Facts

Because of their small size these ponies were not good for war purposes. As agriculture became mechanized, the pony was less important for that purpose. Therefore, their numbers decreased dramatically. Today they are considered an important cultural asset by the islanders. In 1975 the Yonaguni Uma Preservation Meeting was established and devoted their energies to the breeding of Yonaguni Uma. An attempt is being made to preserve the breed and increase their numbers.

For More Information:

Oklahoma State University - Breeds of Livestock
Japan's Dive Spot Gallery
Yonaguni uma
Find A Pet On Line

Horse Breeds