Messara Horse

The Messara or Cretan is a breed of horse found on the island of Crete, off the coast of Greece. It is a native breed mostly inhabiting the Messara Plain. It originated by crossbreeding native stock with Arabian breeds imported in 1600s.

It is a rare breed that in the early 1990s only 80 individuals were alive. A stud book and conservation program was formed in 1994 and the population has slowly risen.

The Messara stands between 50 and 56 inches high and can be bay, brown, black or gray. The have retained some of the Arabian characteristics. Most of the breed is comfortable for riding, they are well suited  for uneven and rocky terrain and have a natural walk.

The main use for the horse is light farm work and transportation, but they are becoming more popular for riding and racing. The stallions are often bred with female donkeys to produce a hinny.

Image Caption: Arabian horse similar in characteristics as a Messara horse. Credit: Ealdgyth/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)