Garrano: head detail.
|Country of origin:||Portugal|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
The Garrano is an ancient breed of horse from Galicia and northern Portugal, mainly used as a pack horse, for riding, and for light farm work.
The Garrano, sometimes called the Minho, an ancient breed, descended from the same stock as the famous Sorraia. The Sorraia lives mainly between the two rivers Sor and Raia, while the Garrano lives in North-Portugal, so they developed differently according to their habitats. The Garrano mainly lives in the fertile regions of Minho and Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, and has probably had more outside blood influence it than the Sorraia.
Genetically related to other Atlantic horse breeds, it is generally believed that the Garrano is one of the ancestors to the Galician Pony and the Andalusian. Recently, the breed has had infusions of Arabian blood, implemented by the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture. This has refined the breed, but the ponies have also begun to lose some of their primitive features.
The ponies are used for riding and light farm work. The military used them for pack purposes, and they are also good in harness.
The ponies are strong and hardy, and very sure-footed with the ability to travel over steep and difficult terrain. For their size they have great speed and are used in trotting races.
The pony now has some Arab-type traits, especially in the head which is fine, with a concave profile, although it can be heavy. They have a long neck set on a straight shoulder. The body is short and compact, the hindquarters muscular, and the tail low-set. They have a deep and wide chest, hard hooves, and broad joints.
The pony is usually bay, chestnut or brown in colour and stands between 10 and 14 hh.