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HorseShowCentral > Horse Breeds > Pony Breeds > North Iberian Pony Breed

North Iberian Pony - Ponies & Breeds

North Iberian Pony stallion, on promentory,looking back at you. North Iberian Pony Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below

The North Iberian pony, forming many breeds today, also form one large family of mountain ponies, which seems to have its origin in prehistoric times.


Northern Iberian pony breeds have a very long history, having developed in the Iberian mountain ranges in the north of the peninsula. They 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 France. The Asturcon, the Losino, and the Pottoka (spelled 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.

Northern Iberian Pony, the Asturcon. The Garanno Northern Iberian Pony. The Caspian as a Northern Iberian Pony
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. Reproduction of any portion of this copyrighted website without written permission of the publisher is prohibited and subject to legal action.

For information regarding the Sorraia horse, the Vale de Zebro Wild Horse Refuge, and the Sorraia Mustang - visit www.sorraia.org

Other HSC pages of interest: ponies of Northern Iberian influence, horses, breeding, industry supplies, shows, event calendar, etc.:

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