crossing Siberia

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

In 1889, when he was 17, [Cossack officer Dmitri] Peshkov rode his pony across Siberia. For 9000 kilometres. In winter. He did it, says photographer Matthieu Paley, to show Tsar Alexander III how strong and valuable the small native horses of Siberia were. “They were being killed at the time to make sausage for the troops building the railroads,” Paley says. The horse was a Yakut, a now-rare breed resembling a large Shetland pony. Yakuts are a hardy breed adapted to the extreme cold and are able to forage even when there is deep snow cover. Peshkov’s epic journey was re-enacted for the 2006 film Serko – named after Peshkov’s horse. In this photograph, shot by Paley as filming was taking place, the actor playing Peshkov is riding across the frozen surface of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest lake.

— extract and photograph taken from New Scientist, no. 2964

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