Castilla y León has three native equine breeds, one of which – the Zamorano-Leon donkey – is known throughout Europe. Here are these three interesting races that you might not know:
The equine races of Castile and León
The need to maintain the genetic potential of Castilian-Leonean equine cattle is due to the fact that in recent years it has been classified as ‘endangered’. This has determined the desirability of promoting actions aimed at obtaining quality players in each of the races.
For it, The Board of Castile and Leon grants, every year, a series of aid each time a farmer or breeder registers an animal in the corresponding records. The Board also promotes and regulates the census and the genetic improvement of these races, considered as part of the Spanish cultural heritage.
What equine races can we find in Castilian-Leonese lands?
The Hispanic-Breton horse
Until the end of the 19th century, the Iberian peninsula lacked adequate animals for medium and heavy shooting, since the native equine breeds of that time were only suitable for light shooting and riding. This absence motivated the introduction of stallions of heavy breeds in order to increase the bulk of Spanish horses.
Thus was born the Hispanic-Breton horse, to meet the agricultural needs of the mountainous areas of northwestern Spain.
Nowadays it is mainly used for meat production, although it is also important as a branching species, for fire prevention. But it should be noted its use in the army as draft horses, for its strength and robust appearance.
It is raised extensively, under grazing. The reproduction is by natural mount and the foals are weaned at six months of life.
It receives the name of its place of origin, the Losa Valley, in Burgos. It is also known by the name of pony losino or jaca burgalesa, and is found, above all, in the provinces of Burgos and Palencia.
These animals are used for child-youth riding, on equestrian routes through rural and mountain areas. This is so thanks to its features:
- Small size, similar to a pony. They measure approximately 140 centimeters of elevation to the cross and weigh about 340 kilos.
- Black color, slightly reddish, may have shining on the forehead.
- Rustic appearance
- Noble and calm behavior.
- It has great fitness for riding.
Other curiosities about the Losino horse
The Losino horse lives in stable social groups, and among the different individuals there is an elaborate repertoire of communications, both sound and visual, tactile or olfactory.
In addition to being used as a recreational breed, this horse is used for meat production and for agricultural work. And, again, it should be noted that it is a roasting species.
The Zamorano-Leon donkey
It is an ass breed used for agricultural work or personal transport mainly. Its origin has been disputed by the provinces of Zamora and León forever, to finally decide that Benavente (Zamora) and Valencia de Don Juan (León) have been his cradle.
The ASZAL association is the main organization responsible for ensuring the conservation of this donkey race, although the Armed Forces are also of some importance.
Characteristics of the Zamorano-Leonés donkey
It is characterized by:
- Its large size: up to 160 centimeters raised to the cross and 350 kilos in weight.
- Dark brown fur, with light snout and belly.
- Woolly appearance, having a long and abundant coat. It covers even your ears.
- Docile character
They are used, above all, to transport people and loads in agricultural tasks, to plow and to produce mules. But nowadays highlights its recreational and cultural use, where we highlight the importance of the San Vitero Fair for its exhibition or its use in rural tourism. However, its most innovative use is asynotherapy.