North Iberian Pony - Ponies & Breeds
North Iberian Pony Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
Various North Iberian pony breeds have a very long history, having developed in the Iberian mountain ranges in the north of the peninsula. These are adapted to the cooler and wetter climate in that region, and include the Spanish breeds of Asturcon, Pottoka, Losino, Gallego, Navarra, and the Garrano in Portugal.
Black ponies can be seen all along the Cantabrian mountains in all shapes and sizes, and they find their cousins north of the Pyrenees in the M rens of France. The Asturcon, the Losino, and the Pottoka (resp. Pottok in French Basque country) seem to be closer related, but all these different North Iberian pony breeds form one large family of mountain ponies, which seems to have its origin in prehistoric times.
Prehistoric cave paintings in northern Iberia depict horses of definite pony type, and while there are cave paintings in southern Iberia which show horses of not clearly defined type, those that definitely show horses of slender, warmblood, type are found only in the south of Iberia.
Some North Iberian pony breeds, especially the Portuguese Garrano, show a marked influence of oriental blood, which they received during the invasion of the Celts around 600 B.C. or a bit earlier. What the Celts brought with them were either orientalized ponies, or even pure miniature Arabs, or primitive Arabs, as we would classify them today, in other words, small horses of the type of the Caspian. These animals the Celts brought with them are the possible source of the lateral gaits the North Iberian ponies often have, known as running walk, amble, single-foot, etc.
Gaited ponies in Great Britain most likely inherited their lateral gaits from North Iberian ponies shipped to the British Isles. From there, North Iberian pony blood reached North America at an early time, supposedly mostly through the Galloway pony, a once admired breed that has long since been extinct. The Galloway may have been the source of the Narragansett Pacer of eastern colonial North America, which in turn is credited to have been the base for the American Standarbred (the Standardbred still often being gaited) and also as a contributor to the American Saddlebred.
Gaited North Iberian ponies would have been the foundation stock for the various Paso breeds in Central and South America (see Paso Fino and Peruvian Paso), and of the Galiceno in Mexico.
Photos: Top of page is the Losino. Left to right above - the Asturcon, Garrano and the Caspian.
Article ©HorseShowCentral.com Submitted by Hardy Oelke and Photos ©Oelke or Oelke Archive. For information regarding the Sorraia horse, the Vale de Zebro Wild Horse Refuge, and the Sorraia Mustang - visit www.sorraia.org
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