- Garrano -

The Garrano and the more famous Sorraia are both ancient breeds that are descended from the same stock and have developed along different lines according to their habitat. The Sorraia lives is Spain mostly between the Sor and Raia rivers, while the Garrano live is neighboring Portugal. The Garrano, which is also called the Minho, mainly lives in the fertile regions of Minho and Tras os Montes and has most likely been subjected to outside infusions of blood than has the Sorraia.

*A note from a wonderful reader that took the time to write in and correct some erroneous information about the information presented on this breed is as follows:

"Their original living area is in the valley of the Sorraia river, and there is no such thing as "in-between Spain and Portugal" because Spain and Portugal are two different, independent countries with contiguous border (no land in between).
Just for the record Sor and Raia have a water flow that classifies them as a stream, and both of them sprout in "the middle" of Portugal far from the border with Spain.

I think that error/confusion is because it also exists a River named Sor in Spain, which is bigger and more famous/easy to find in a search the the smaller Sor Stream in Portugal.

There is a lot of confusion between Sor Strem (Portugal) and Sor River (in Spain) that makes people think Sorraia is from Spain. Also, Sorraias were used for work/war in ancient times and that's why Spanish Armadas took some to America bought/stolen from that region in Portugal."

There are a lot of similarities between the primitive cave paintings of the Paleolithic era and the Garrano, which indicate the breed's antiquity. It is generally considered that the Garrano is one of the ancestors of both the Andalusian and the Galician. Recently the Garrano has had fairly frequent infusions of Arabian blood, a procedure that was implemented by the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture. This has had an effect of greatly refining the breed, but has caused the breed to lose some of its primitive features. The Garrano breed is strong and hardy and have quiet temperaments. They are frequently used for riding and light farm work and have been widely employed as pack horses in the past. They are very surefooted and can easily travel smoothly over the difficult, steep, and densely wooded terrain of their homeland, and as such, can perform much better in this area than any motorized vehicle. They have also been used by the military for pack ponies and are very useful driving horses in harness. For their size, they exhibit a remarkable turn of speed and are used for competing in the traditional trotting races of the region.

In appearance, the Garrano is now an attractive pony of some quality, bearing some Arabian typical traits, especially in the head, which is fine, pretty and often has a concave profile although it can also sometimes be slightly heavy. They tend to have small ears, lively, large eyes, and a long neck set on a straight shoulder. The back is short and compact with sloping muscular hindquarters and a low-set tail. They are deep and wide through the chest and have short, strong legs with hard, broad joints. They also have well formed, very hard hooves. The Garrano is mostly bay or chestnut in color and stand between 10 and 14 hh.


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