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The Skyrian pony
Skyros pony an ancient horse species coming from the time of Achilles and Alexander the Great.
The small-bodied species of the Skyrian horse is one of the rarest horse breeds in the world while their body-type is similar to that of a large horse. The head is very handsome, the mane long and richly coloured, usually in a hue darker than skin colour. Their legs are slim ,strong and wiry ,with strong joints. Their colour is usually a brown-red or chestnut hue, sometimes white or grey-brown.
The Skyrian pony comes from an ancient horse race and has common roots with the Pindos horse . It is believed to descent from the horses Achilles took with him to Troy and is also connected with Great Alexander’s horses. It is also believed to having been brought to the island by Athenian colonists, in the 5th century BC. Moreover, it is possible that the pony is depected on the Parthenon frieze.
In recent history, the pony was tamed by farmers for agricultural uses and for sport and cultural events. Every year, from October to May, they live at liberty on the mountain Kohila, in the southern -east part of the island. In summer, they come back looking for water and food.
Nowadays, the pony belongs to the rarest horse breeds in the world. In the 90’s ,only 220 ponies in Greece were registered as having a pedigree and 120 of them were in Skyros. It is worth mentioning that the European union has included the Skyrian pony in the list of the rarest breeds of animals used for agricultural purposes; hence, the funding of any initiative aiming at its protection.