When is a horse not a horse? When it’s a hinny, a zorse or a zonkey…

  • With the likes of Wallace The Great and Fergus embarking on their affiliated dressage careers with success, the humble mule is a hot topic at the moment. British Dressage recently changed their stance on registering mules, and their current rules resemble that of the FEI, which states that a horse “refers also to a pony or other member of the genus equus unless the context requires otherwise. A horse shall be born from a mare”.

    But while the concept of a mule — born from a female horse and a male donkey (a jack) ­— is fairly familiar, what other hybrid equines are out there, and which ones would, theoretically, be eligible to do dressage?


    Often mistaken for a mule, a hinny is born from a stallion horse and a female donkey, known as a jenny. They are rarer than mules and, according to The Donkey Sanctuary, would have the body of a donkey, but a head more akin to a horse. It is extremely rare for a mule or a hinny to be able to breed as, due to their inter-breeding, they have an odd number of chromosomes — 63, whereas a horse has 64 and a donkey 62.


    This is the term given to the offspring of a zebra and a horse, usually a male zebra and a mare, with a zebra-pony cross sometimes known as a zony. Zorses tend to feature the zebra striping over the top of a solid coloured coat and, if they have been born from a mare, would theoretically be allowed to be registered with BD. However, currently the only known zorse living in Europe is the 13.2hh gelding Zulu (pictured), who is by a zebra out of an Arab mare, and is owned by Shropshire’s Donkey Rescue UK.

    Continues below…


    Even rarer than the zorse, a zonkey is a result of a crossing between a male zebra and a female donkey, while a zedonk is the offspring of a male donkey and a female zebra. Confused yet? A zonkey, known as Zee, also lives at Donkey Rescue UK.

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