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Horse Breeds
First Posted: July 20, 2009
Feb 21, 2014

Sorraia Horse or Marismeño (Spain)/Some are Gaited

Zebra Striping

Dorsal Striping down back

3-D Flags
Country of Origin: Spain


They are noted for their ability to adapt to extreme climates, including dry and hot climates; as well as the ability to live on very little food and still remain healthy. Stockmen prized the Sorraia. Documents show that the Sorraia horses were taken to America by Spanish conquistadors, and the bloodlines are evident in several breeds found in North and South America. Some American Mustang DNA is similar, and some patterns identical to the DNA patterns of teh Sorraia. The Sorraia is nearly extinct. A few herds are maintained in half a dozen places in Spain, Portugal and a few places in Germany. Ruy D' Andrade, discovered them in 1920 in the lowlands of the Portuguese River Sorraia. Thus the name "Sorraia." Pictures of the Sorraia have been found in ancient cave paintings.

Physical Description

The Sorraia Horse is about 14 hh. Their coat colors include dun or grullo. The head tends to be long. The profile is convex. Their eyes are set high and their ears are fairly long and tipped in black. The Sorraia Horse has a long, slender neck, prominent withers, straight, medium length back with a slightly sloping croup. The tail set is not particularly high or low. The Sorraia's tail carriage is never held high (like an Arabian) even when the horse is excited. The chest is deep and narrow, the shoulder is long, the legs are straight with rather long, round cannon bones, well defined tendons, long, sloped pasterns, and hard hooves of dark color. They have the black dorsal stripe down their backs and dark faces. Often seen is zebra striping on their legs. The foals are born with zebra strips all over. As they mature the zebra stripes fade much like the gray colored horses change to lighter color as they age. True pure Sorraia have no white markings. They have no Oriental or Northern European bloodlines.


1. Southern Iberian Wild Horses (2) Andalusian (3) Lusitanian (4) European Horses and (5)America


The Sorraia Horse is used for riding. They are also used for herding fighting bulls and other livestock.

For More Information:

Oklahoma State University - Breeds of Livestock

Horse Breeds