The Sorraia is descended from an ancient stock and is directly related to the Tarpan. They may have originated in the western region of the Iberian Peninsula. Surviving remnants of what was once an extensive population can be traced to an area between the Sor and Raia rivers, from which the breed gets its name. Traditionally, the Sorraia would be used for herding, working the land, light harness work, and riding. They were the popular working horses for the cattlemen and shepherds of the region. The breed may have had an influence on contemporary Iberian light riding breeds, including the Spanish horses: the Andalusian, the Alter Real, the Carthusian, and the Lusitano. The only true substantiated genetic link has been established with the Lusitano that has a genotype that although not exactly like the contemporary Sorraia genotype, is closely enough related that it is thought to have been another Sorraia genotype when this primitive horse was distributed in greater numbers. We must assume the Spanish conquistadores took some horses with Sorraia origins to the Americas, as there has been mt-DNA evidence that has found Sorraian gentotypes in a couple of feral horse groups of western USA. Most notable today in America is an attempt by breeders to revive the breed through the Sorraia Mustang Studbook . Genetic tests are being carried out to see if there are any Sorraia genotypes among the Chilean Horse breed which is the purest and oldest of all stock horse breeds in the Americas. It was actually Ruy d'Andrade, breeder of Alter Reals and Lusitanos, who rediscovered the breed in the 1920s, when he found a herd of 30 horses on the Sesmaria estate. D'Andrade was unable to capture any of these wild horses, which he observed to have abundant signs of leg and body stipes, but he did gather a collection of horses belonging to farmers in the area that had a strikingly similar appearance. The descendants of these horses are still maintained by the D'Andrade family in Portugal, who keep a small feral herd. It is interesting that the mitochondrial DNA tests have shown these horses to have a very distinct genotype from the rest of the Iberian breeds, except a portion of the Lusitanos that seem to be have a maternal link to the Sorraia. This would indicate that D'Andrade's choices of foundation animals were very accurate in obtaining the Sorraia genealogy that at the time still persisted in that region of Portugal. Today, it is questioned if all Sorraias are 100% pure. Their situation is, in fact, very similar to that of the Przewalski's Horse of Mongolia, which also suffered a small degree of genetic out-crossing before emergency conservation measures were finally taken. Today, this project is being focused on through the efforts of the Sorraia Studbook . Retrieved from ""

The Sorraia is a horse from Spain and Portugal (Iberia Peninsula), which has influenced many light modern horse breeds.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sorraia".