Expert Testimonials

Among those who are today actively and effectively involved in the preservation and breeding of the Skyros horse, is Mrs. Sylvia Dimitriadis-Steen, who lives on the island of Corfu and hippologist Alec Copland, formerly a lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy in the Veterinary Faculty of Edinburgh University in Scotland.

Alec has worked with ponies all his life, but it was only in 1994 that he heard about the horses of Skyros and went to examine the situation on the island.

"My immediate impression of the Skyros horses," he remembered, "was that in conformation, action and temperament, they resemble miniaturised Exmoor ponies of 10.5 hands high (105 cms.). The bay coloured animals present a mealy muzzle, circle around the eye, the prominent 'toad' eye, low set tail, and hard black feet."

Subsequent examinations of blood samples indicated that, like the Exmoors, they represent an example of mountain horses of the Speed-Ebhart Type 1, which evolved in America about a million years ago and migrated by way of Alaska and along the Asiatic mountain chain, arriving in south-eastern Europe during the early Holocene period. "If you look at the Lydian ponies of central Anatolia, which were used to pull chariots 2000 years ago, you see that they probably derive from the same breed".



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