Many events in the history of eastern Eurasia, including the process of domestication itself, the initial spread of domestic horses and subsequent movements, are believed to have affected the genetic structure of domestic horse populations in this area. We investigated levels of within- and between-population genetic diversity in 'non-breed horses' (working horses sampled in remote areas) from 17 locations in Asia and parts of Eastern Europe, using 26 autosomal microsatellite loci. Non-breed horses have not been subject to the same intensity of artificial selection and closed breeding as have most breed animals and are thus expected to better reflect the population history of domestic horses. Despite geographic distances of between 300 and 7000 km between sampling locations, pairwise F (ST) was very low (range: <0.001 to -0.033), suggesting historically high levels of gene flow. Our analyses of non-breed horses revealed a pattern of isolation by distance and a significant decline in genetic diversity (expected heterozygosity and allelic richness) from east to west, consistent with a westward expansion of horses out of East Asia. Although the timing of this putative expansion is unclear, our results highlight the benefit of studying animals that do not belong to particular breeds when investigating aspects of a population's history.