Sorraia Horses


The Sorraia Horse, faithfully depicted in rock paintings, does not figure strongly in domestic history. Its origins go back to the ancient wild horse of the south of the Iberian Peninsula. This horse and the horses from north Africa are probably related due to migration between southern Europe and North Africa via the strait of Gibraltar. Being hardy and of small stature they were domesticated early on and used for domestic work and bull fights.


This small horse was the ancestor of the famous Andalusian and Lusitania horses and of many other European and American horses.


According to the records, these horses were taken to the Americas by the Spanish conquistadores. Many current breeds in both North and South America display a strong resemblance with them, especially in their colouring. Furthermore, DNA tests on some American horses showed similar, and even identical, patterns to those of the Sorraia Horse.


Discovered in 1920 by Ruy D'Andrade, in the marshlands of the River Sorraia, it soon acquired the name of Sorraia Horse. Standing today on the brink of extinction, it is still possible to find them with some breeders in Portugal and Germany.


The Sorraia Horse’s coat is fawn or rat grey with darker face and ears, and a darker dorsal band, with zebra-like bands on the legs; occasionally they have a darker band on the shoulders or bands on the throat, shoulders and rear.


The Sorraia Horse is considered to be in severe danger of extinction.


The Herdade da Mata owns one Sorraia mare.