These wild horses originate from Poland, bred from the original now extinct wild horses of Europe known as Tarpan. Konik ponies show numerous primitive features, associated with their ancestor, the Tarpan. They are resistant to harsh climates and severe weather conditions, hence their extensive range. As they are adapted to foraging in the wild, they can live on a limited amount of food and have an extremely resilient immune system. They are very intelligent, allowing them to adapt their diet according to season and food availability. They also have the ability to delay their growth in times of food shortage.
Koniks ponies digest grasses better than domestic horses, enabling them to survive on a diet of much coarser foods than would be suitable for a domestic horse. (Wildwood Trust 2006).
Koniks have a dun colouration, characterized by smoky grey or mouse coloured hairs on the body. They have a black dorsal stripe and their face, tail and lower legs are darker than their body. Their manes are two-toned and their front legs have zebra stripes. Their heads are large, with large jaws and a thick neck. They also have relatively long manes. The whorl of hair on their forehead is found between the eyes, a lower position than their domestic relatives.