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Year-round grazing was accepted by involved farmers and nature organisations quit easily, especially for use in marginal and abandoned agricultural Lands. By contrast, for the public especially close to large cities mostly needed some time to accept the idea that the animals are kept outdoors all winter. However, the most important problem for those who are working with this concept is compliance with the requirements under Rural Development Programme. Year-round grazing would be much more attractive for landowners if the Ministry of Agriculture would recognize it as farming practice with its own specific set of rules. Now landowners using year-round grazing have to comply with the same rules as seasonal grazing, this can lead to serious contradictions. For instance, in seasonal grazing, meadows have to be grazed off at the end of summer, while for year-round grazing the animals still have to find their food there till early spring. The area will be grazed of all the same only at a later date! The majority of year-round grazing sites are within Natura 2000 sites and majority of them are found to be Biologically Valuable Grasslands. This means that the main goal for these areas is nature conservation. However, farming here has to comply with rules based on agricultural production. This leads to frequent contradictions and consequently, inefficient nature management.
Country Portugal, P
Species Horse
Synonyms zebro, encebro, enzebro, marismeņo
Management semi-feral
Population size about 200 horses
Morphology Colour: grulla (mouse-dun) or dun, Height (cm) ca. 140 +, Weight 350 - 450 kg
History Sorraia Horses are a remnant population of an indigenous, South Iberian wild horse, which survived in the formerly inaccessible lowlands of the river Sorraia in Portugal until the early 1900s. The Iberian scientist and horse expert Dr. Ruy d´Andrade discovered these horses in 1920 and he is responsible for their conservation. Dr d´Andrade´s studies convinced him that they were a primitive, direct descendant of a wild in-digenous South Iberian horse, and an ancestor of the Andalusian and Lusitano breeds. In contrast to what one can find in most pertaining literature, where one author copies from an-other without actual personal knowledge, Sorraias are not ponies, but horses, and they must not be confused with the Garrano, a native North Iberian pony breed, of which the Sorraia is not a relative, as is often stated. Instead, the Sorraia is a completely different type of horse.
Need for Action Procedures applied to control quality of grassland management are carried out in inappropriate season. In a year-round grazing scheme the areas are well grazed at the end of winter or start of spring, when year-round grazing is used for nature conservation, grazed areas can be (or even aimed to be) a mosaic where meadows are interspersed with bushes or even are wooded meadows. However, these heterogeneous and highly biodiverse types of landscape are not eligible for support under Agri-environmental schemes. For instance, the vegetation can be well-managed Biologically Valuable Grasslands, but it cannot be included in management.
Remarks The most urgently needed solution for the wild herd is an exemption from EU regulations
Source of information H. Oelke,


Sorraia Pony Vale de Zebro Sorraia Stallion 2008

FP_283feral_Sorraia Pony.jpg

H. Oelke