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:
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
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.
Check out these websites offering information about the Garrano Pony!
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