//Sorraia horse breed – Portugal Wild Horses
Sorraia Horse Breed Picture

Sorraia horse breed – Portugal Wild Horses

On the planet there are many species of horses. Most of these breeds have been domesticated by man. However, there are still breeds of wild horses and the Sorraia horse breed is one of them.

In America, Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa there are specimens of wild horses. This time we will talk about a breed of wild horse from Europe, specifically from Portugal.

Now, the Sorraia Horse is a breed of horse from Portugal. There are several versions regarding its origin and that some indicate that it originated from the descendants of a small population of wild horses. Others suggest that they were the ancestors of the American horse.

The Sorraia breed is an Iberian wild equine, in terms of its genetics it is the same as that of other domestic Iberian horses.

The influence of this iconic breed from Portugal is reflected in many modern light horse breeds

Throughout this article we will delve into everything related to this unique Sorraia horse breed.

Unusual Horses: The Sorraia

Breed history

The Sorraia horse comes from an ancient lineage of wild horses from Portugal.

Its physiognomy is similar to the prehistoric horses in works of art found in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Sorraia breed is linked to the now extinct wild horse Tarpan, which lived in southern Europe and Asia.

The name of the breed is very unique, as it results from the mixture of the names of the rivers Sor and Raia. This is due to the fact that the life remains of large populations of these horses have been found in the area.

This breed has had great dominance in various modern Iberian breeds such as the Alter Real, the Andalusian Horse, the Cartujano or the Lusitano.

At present, the influence of this breed has been demonstrated in two species of horses in the United States.

The current breed was discovered by horse breeder Ruy D’Andrade in 1920. It was when he found a group of 30 horses in the wild in Sesmaria.

Today Sorraia horses are found in the Sierra de San Mamede in Portugal and in the Sorraia watershed in Spain.

The wild reserves of these Sorraia horse breed, for the year 2004, had a population of approximately one hundred and eighty animals.

For this reason, the authorities and horse lovers must work together to preserve this breed of wild horses from Portugal.

Sorraia Horse Breed Picture
Sorraia Horse Breed Picture

Ruy d’Andrade and his role in the discovery of this breed from Portugal

In the 1920s the horse breed was rediscovered by Ruy d’Andrade. This is an outstanding horse breeder, specifically of the following breeds: Alter Reals and Lusitanos.

This man encountered a herd of thirty wild horses, yet D’Andrade was unable to capture any.

Despite this, he managed to acquire his own herd of horses similar to the Sorraia breed of breeders in the area.

The offspring of these horses are still managed by the D’Andrade family in Portugal.

But Ruy d’Andrade was much more than the one who discovered the Sorraia horse breed and a horse breeder, as we will see below.

Ruy d’Andrade riding a horse
Ruy d’Andrade riding a horse

Brief biographical sketch of Ruy d’Andrade

Ruy d’Andrade is one of those men that when we review the history of a country we find it in all the books. The passion he put into everything he did gave him the genius and perseverance for success.

He is remembered today for being the creator and breeder of two of the most important breeds in Portugal: The Alter Real and the Lusitano.

His passion for animals and especially for horses was reflected in his selfless work. The discovery and preservation of the Sorraia horse breed is one of its great contributions. Remember that the Sorraia horse breed is the breed of wild horses of Portugal par excellence.

Thanks to their curiosity, we currently have this breed preserved by Ruy d’Andrade and his descendants. But let’s get to know a little more about the other facets of this distinguished Portuguese before talking more about his work in favor of horses.

Ruy d’Andrade, a multifaceted man.

In the history books we get Ruy d’Andrade in multiple facets outside of his work as a breeder. There is a commemorative tombstone in the Alter do Chão where its different facets are listed.

The Alter do Chão is currently located on the land that belonged to the Yeguada Real and that Ruy d’Andrade dedicated itself to preserving. On the memorial stone he lists the following facets:

  • National Horse Protector
  • Zoologist
  • Agronomist
  • Archaeologist
  • Writer
  • Historian
  • Politician
  • Artist
  • Sportsman

His facets as a horse advocate, agronomist, zoologist, archaeologist and historian were intimately related to his research on horses.

However, Ruy d’Andrade was a parliamentarian, mayor of the city of Elvas and a great defender of the Portuguese monarchy.

But the most relevant was his academic career around agronomy.

Ruy d’Andrade had a great political and academic background in agronomy. Some of the most important titles were:

  • PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Paris, France.
  • PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Pisa, Italy.
  • An PhD Honoris Causa awarded by the University of Madrid.

His contribution is reflected in a multitude of works that are required reading for anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge about Portuguese horse breeds. Among the most consulted are the following:

  • The Andalusian Horse (1937)
  • Garranos (1938)
  • Elements of the History of the Stud of Alter

Thanks to Ruy d’Andrade, the Sorraia, the Lusitano and the Alter Real horses were preserved. A great contribution to the history and horses of his country.

Characteristics of the Sorraia horse breed

Next, we mention some of the characteristics of this unique bighorn horse from Portugal

  • The Sorraia horse breed are small or medium-sized horses.
  • It has a convex head and long ears.
  • The neck is muscular, and supports the head in an arc.
  • These horses have a thick build and a medium-sized tail.
  • Sorraia horses tend to have sharp hips.
  • In addition, they have a narrow chest with large lung capacity and horizontally angled shoulders.
  • The hooves of these horses are hard and thick hooves, probably because it is a wild horse it has this uniqueness.
  • These horses have the following measurements 1.44 m to 1.48 m
  • The Sorraia horse breed is generally tawny, but these can also be grayish or yellowish. In addition, they have a dark mouth and face.
  • Their black manes and tails have a lighter stripe, called bicolor.
  • Sorraias are extremely strong, because by living in the wild they adapt to any situation.
Sorraia Horse Breed Picture
Sorraia Horse Breed Picture


Sorraia horse breed behavior

One of the unique characteristics of the Sorraia horse breed is that despite being in the wild, they have a serene and docile demeanor.

In view of this peculiarity, it is quite possible that interaction with human beings is easier.

The Sorraia horse breed are resilient since their life dynamics are strong.

In addition, this may also be due to the variability of the breed’s gene pool. Remember that breeds “artificially created” by breeders have a limited gene pool. This causes that despite some notable advantages of these breeds, they also have extreme weaknesses in other aspects.

This type of extension of the gene pool is called in force hybrid. Hybrid vigor is a genetic concept used for breeding and breeding populations.

Natural populations tend to have a better ability to adapt due to natural selection. Because of this, the Sorraia Horse Breed that has a good dose of wildlife, maintains its hybrid vigor compared to other breeds.

These animals can be fed with little forage, endure extreme temperatures among other things.

Another characteristic of these horses is that they are long-lived.

The data about Sorraia Horse Breed

The current breed of the Sorraia horse was discovered by Ruy D’Andrade.

D’Andrade family still has a number of Sorraia horses in the wild on their farms.

This population of horses comes from 7 mares and 4 stallions of the family.

Undoubtedly, this family has made a great contribution to the preservation of this breed of horses, iconic of Portugal.

In summary

The Sorraia horse breed is the wild horse of Portugal and whose characteristics leave horse lovers astonished.

Well, his docile temperament makes him able to interact at some point with human beings.

Gustavo Mirabal and his wife Carolina Mirabal love to document themselves in relation to the breeds of bighorn horses in the world. Well this gives you a broader idea of ​​the behavior of horses.

Let us remember that the Mirabal Chapellin spouses have been closely linked to the equestrian world.

In the days of G&C Farm they practiced show jumping and had a leading training center in the United States.

It should be noted that at present this equestrian center is inactive, although the world of horses is still one of the favorite hobbies of this couple.

Today, Mirabal Chapellin spouses are focused on the financial field in the United Arab Emirates

This couple is always reading horse-related topics, hence the interest in showing a little about the equestrian topic on their websites.