About Galician Pony Horses
Galician Ponies are from Galicia, in the northwest of Spain.
The region has a very wet climate and numerous low mountains.
They are a mix of Celtic horses, Roman horses, and horses
brought to Spain by the Suevos. More recently they have been crossbred with
other breeds. Despite their ethnic heterogeneity (three types of Galician
ponies can be found in different parts of Galicia) the main characteristics are
their straight profile, linear proportions, height of between 1.20 and 1.30
meters, and a chestnut coat. An interesting characteristic of one of the three
types is the long mustache which appears on the upper lips of the older mares.
They are large for a pony, but smaller than a horse. They
are rugged and hardy. They are short-bodied and strong-legged.
According to the 1973 study by Pedro Iglesias there were
more than 20,000 Galician ponies free in the mountains in the northwestern
region of Spain. However, it is thought that this number has decreased because
of sanitary problems and low economic returns.
In the past, they were raised for their mane and tail hair
that was used to make different kinds of brushes. Today synthetic fibers have
replaced this natural material and now they are mainly raised for meat
production and riding.
Also they have a tourist value. One of the most traditional
and popular festivals in Galicia is the "curros". The
"curro" is a closed area where the horses are exhibited during the
fair. This festival consists in getting the semi-wild horses from the Galician
mountains once a year, usually in summer, to brand, cut their manes and tails
and sell them in the "curro." In this fair everyone participates in
bringing the horses to the curro. Afterwards people buy some of the horses and
the rest are set free again. This festival attracts a lot of tourists and
generates financial resources for the region.