Sorraia Horse

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Sorraia Horse

882 lb
Short but strong, hardy
25-30 years
Best Suited For
All levels of horse owners and riders
Calm, willing, trainable, intelligent
Comparable Breeds
Lusitano Horse, Andalusian Horse
Sorraia Horse Breed History

The Sorraia Horse is an ancient breed that naturally developed on the Iberian Peninsula. These horses, which are found mainly in Portugal and Germany, are rare today, and they are considered nearly extinct. They are also one of the few original wild equines that still exist, and ancient cave art has even been found that seems to depict horses that resemble the Sorraia.

It is believed that the Sorraia is an ancestor of the horses of Lusitania and Andalusia, as well as other breeds throughout the Americas and Europe, including the American Mustang. Evidence even points to the fact that the animals were brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors. Also, according to experts, it was a Portuguese scientist named Ruy d’Andrade who actually found and named these horses around 1920, even though they had been around for centuries.

The Sorraia is an ancient breed from the Iberian Peninsula.

Those wild Sorraia horses that have been captured have been taught to tolerate riders, and they are often utilized for herding purposes. However, these multi-talented horses are also known for doing well in everything from endurance riding and general riding, to work and dressage.

As a domestic equine breed, the Sorraia does not have any history. However, recently, the Sorraia has been dubbed an actual breed by the Portuguese National Stud, which hopes to help keep these horses alive through a breeding program. But because they are so rare, getting a Sorraia could be difficult, as there are only a few breeders who are working on maintaining this unique breed.

Breed Traits
Once trained, the Sorraia horse could make a wonderful companion. This breed is known for its great personality, not just its hardy constitution. For example, these animals are considered calm, steady, willing, and intelligent. These horses are also quick, durable, easy to train, and multi-talented. They can work with a variety of riders and help complete a range of tasks, so they are suitable for all levels of horse owners and riders as well.

Sorraia horses will always feature a coat that is grullo or dun in color.

Overall Description

The Sorraia breed is built for withstanding the elements and being hardy and adaptable. These horses are able to survive in extreme climate conditions, including hot and dry weather, and they can also survive on little food. Also, even though these animals are smaller than other breeds, they are not ponies.

A few of the distinguishing features of the Sorraia horse include a head that is a bit long and features a convex profile, ears that will be fairly long, and the eyes that will be set high. You will also notice that this horse has a long neck that is slender, and the straight back will be a medium length, while the withers will be well defined and prominent. Also, the chest will be narrow and deep, the shoulder will be long, and the legs will be straight and long with hard hooves. Finally, the tail of a Sorraia will not be obviously low or high, but it will not be held especially high even when the animal gets excited.

Sorraia horses are considered calm, steady, willing, and intelligent.

Overall, the Sorraia is a stunning creature. Sorraia horses will always feature a coat that is grullo or dun in color. There will also be a face and muzzle area that is darker, along with black-tipped ears and a black dorsal stripe. There will often be zebra stripes on the horse’s legs, and there may also be a stripe that is found across the animal’s shoulders, or you might note stripes across the back, neck, and shoulders.

On top of that, you will notice that these horses have a beautiful black tail and black mane that are both fringed by hair that is lighter in color and almost white. The hooves will also be a dark color.

Foals are actually born with a pattern like that of a zebra all over their bodies. And pure Sorraia horses will not showcase any white markings.

Grooming Requirements

Even though the Sorraia is a breed that is used to fending for itself, grooming your Sorraia horse will help keep his coat looking beautiful and healthy, and it will also be a wonderful opportunity to bond with your animal. A basic equine grooming kit will be sufficient, but if your horse ever gets too dirty, you could use a gentle equine shampoo to bathe him.

Using a combination of a curry comb, dandy brush, body finishing brush, tail comb, mane comb, and shedding blade, you could effectively remove all of the dirt, debris, and excess hair from your horse’s coat. Then you could use a hoof pick to clean out the hooves, making sure to check for injuries and infections there. And you could use a moistened soft cloth to clean around the delicate eyes and ears. With a regular grooming schedule, your horse will look and feel great.

Photo credit: Lynne Gerard/Wikipedia; Andreas Konopka/Wikipedia
Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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