Welcome to the new and improved breeds section, have a look around and meet a breed or two.

Sorraia Horse

Country of Origin: Portugal, Spain

Sorraia Horse

Image © Sorraia.org


The Sorraia is thought to be the last remnant of wild horses that lived across most of the Iberian Peninsula, including parts of Spain & Portugal. Although we call them a breed today, they are actually what remains of an indigenous wild horse. Only recently, after the Portuguese National Stud took over registration of these animals, have they been promoted as a ‘breed’.

Sorraia Horse

Image © Sorraia.org


These animals are ancient and rather important in terms of their genetics. They are thought to be the fathers of the mighty Spanish & Portuguese breeds who went on to spread their seed worldwide. Their name comes from the Sor & Raia rivers which irrigate the plains on which they have roamed for the last thousand years. Cave art from before the last Ice Age depicts animals that look very similar to the Sorraia on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Sorraia is one of the few types of original wild horses and they are most likely related to the now extinct Tarpan, as they tend to resemble each other in physical appearance.

It is thought that Sorraia animals were among the first to be taken to the Americas by Spanish as they were adaptable, hardy and useful as pack animals. Which explains many of the breeds from the Americas with grulla coloring & primitive markings. This breed is also believed to have migrated across the land-bridge at Gibraltar to North Africa in ancient times and are thought to be the basis for the hardy North African Barb.

However important their genetics are, this is a very rare breed. There are small numbers of dedicated breeders in both Portugal and Germany, but their numbers are dangerously low.


Average height 14 hands


Head often has convex profile
Eyes are high set
Ears are long
Neck is long & slender
Back is average in length & straight
Chest is deep & narrow
Legs are long and well built
Hooves are dark & hard

Traditional Colors

grulla with primitive markings


Calm & steady
Intelligent & quick reactors


Riding horse
Pack horse

Special Thanks

Many special thanks to Reinhard Oelke who provided me with updated facts & information about the Sorraia. Many of the facts here are his – you can find out more about him and Sorraia horses on his website Sorraia.org.

Sorraia Horse Products

Helpful Links

* all links open in a new window
Soul of Sorraia


Do you have images or know more about the Sorraia breed? I’d love help completing this page, please contact me to get involved.

Country of Origin: Portugal, Spain | Colors:
Don't forget to subscribe now to get the latest. It's Free.
© 2010 The Equinest