Video: Galician Pony
Galician pony (Galician mountain horse) originally from Galicia (northwestern region of Spain). It is a region with a very humid climate and low mountains. The Galician's size is halfway between pony and horse. Today the breed is very rare and lives semi-wild in Galicia.
The Galician pony is believed to have originated in Galicia about 2000 years ago, and is descended from Roman and Celtic horses that arrived from the north of the Iberian Peninsula in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. The Galician pony belongs to a vast family of ponies that live on the Atlantic coast from Portugal to Scotland. They later crossed with other breeds. In different parts of Spain, you can find three types of Galician ponies, differing from each other in their exterior. During the Middle Ages, Galician ponies were used as riding horses.
Wild horses in Galicia were first hunted for meat and then domesticated for military use and for work on the land.
A 1973 study by Pedro Iglesias found 20,000 Galician ponies living free in northeastern Spain. Their numbers are believed to have declined due to poor sanitary and economic conditions in the area.
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The Galician pony is massive and very daring. The Association of Galician Horse Owners and Breeders was formed in 1997, and shortly thereafter, the first plan to improve and preserve the breed was developed by the autonomous government. Thanks to the efforts of the government and enthusiasts, in 2007 the number of the breed reached almost 1300 individuals, and at the end of 2014 - more than 1700.
In the past, the mane and tail of these horses were used to make brushes. Today synthetic materials are replacing natural horsehair, and the main purpose of the Galician ponies is meat production. In addition, they are actively used for horse riding and entertainment for tourists.
Height at the withers from 120 to 140 cm, weight 165-300 kg. The color is bay or black. A star on the forehead is allowed but is considered a defect like other light markings.
One of the traditional and very popular festivals in Galicia is the so-called "curros" festival. For this festival in the mountains, once a year, mainly in summer, semi-wild ponies are caught, the foals are branded, and sent to the "curro". Curro is a small arena where horses are displayed during the festival. Some of the ponies are bought by tourists, ransomed by slaughterhouses for meat, or released into the wild. This festival attracts many tourists and provides tremendous economic support to the region.
Exterior: head with a straight profile; the neck is short; the back is short; rounded belly; the body is proportional, compact; limbs are strong, short; the mane and tail are very thick. An interesting feature of one of the three types of these ponies is the presence of elongated hair on the upper lip and chin in older animals.
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Recently, it has been suggested that this Galician pony belongs to the new horse subspecies Equus ferus atlanticus. For this new subspecies, the designation "Garrano" was proposed.