In 1920, Ruy d'Andrade, a Portuguese scientist, discovered a breed of horse nearby the Sorraia River. Exploring the area further, he found ancient cave paintings and bones that resembled the newly discovered horses, which proved that those horses like them have be around for thousands of years.
Scientists believe that the Sorraia, named for the river they were found near, is related to the African Barb. Some of the ancient horse's ancestors could have travelled from Africa to Spain. Today, such horses are spread across Portugal and Spain, though only about 200 are found worldwide, most of which are owned privately and no longer run free. Only a few herds are found in the wild, one being the herd in Sorraia Horse Natural Reserve in Portugal.
Breed Description and Uses
The Sorraia, though not a pony, is small and compact at an average of 13 to 15 hands, and have sloping hindquarters. Much like the Tarpan, an ancient breed, they can only be found in grulla and dun, and are born with zebra stripes on their body. Their profile is usually convex.
Sorraias are often used as dressage horses or as ranch mounts.