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Sorraia
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Obino
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 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2018 06:21 pm
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This is my first post on here and I have been following the Equus articles on all the different kinds of horses with intense interest. I also have two of your books one being Conquerors and the other being conformation Insights. My question is this was the Sorraia used in any way in making the Spanish Jennett? If not which Equus cabballus was possibly used. Or were there multiple different ones? I'm also curious about the horses of the camargue? Where they Oriental or caballus?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Sep 2nd, 2018 05:02 am
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Obino,"Jennet" is not a breed; it is a type, albeit an identifiable and consistent type which was the common horse of Spain during the time of the Reconquista and the early period of American conquest, i.e. the 15th through 17th centuries.

The Sorraia is an old strain of Jennet that has survived into modern times. It is particularly associated with SW Andalucia and adjacent areas of Portugal. Most of what has been said about the Sorraia on line and in the popular magazines is pure fiction, made up by people who want to sell you a buckskin or dun-colored Mustang/Colonial Spanish Horse, and who feel they need to get you "hooked" by pretending that their animal is something out of the ordinary. There are zero horses descended from Sorraias in the United States. There may be some Sorraias, which were recently imported from Portugal by some fancier; well and good; but they have absolutely nothing to do with the Mustang or any other historically North American breed, strain, or bloodline.

The Sorraia is not a type of "primitive" horse. Just because a horse has buckskin or dun coloring/patterning with stripes on the legs does not make it primitive and does not mean it is related to the Przewalski horse, or to horses depicted in ancient cave paintings, any more closely than any other strain, bloodline, or breed of domestic horse.

As to terminology:

Equus caballus is the scientific name for ALL living horses, wild, feral, or domestic. The scientific name of the Sorraia is Equus caballus; the scientific name for all other domestic horses is also Equus caballus.

Equus caballus is the name for the whole species, so the scientific name for the Przewalski horse is also Equus caballus.

The species as a whole contains certain subspecies, each of which is associated with, and developed in, a particular patch of territory. The ones which my research has led me to be willing to recognize are set forth in a paper which you can download for free and read: go to http://www.equinestudies.org, click on "Knowledge Base," and then click on "Mammalian Species."

Particularly, study the map that is in that paper; it is the most thoroughly-researched study of the zoogeography of horses that has ever been produced and it should be regarded as highly authoritative, and a reliable basis for all thinking about the history of horse breeds. The online map is a color version of the same map that appears in my book, "Conquerors", but because it is in color it is way easier to read and understand.

Many people get mixed up as to the proper way to use scientific names. Understand that:

Horses belong in the ORDER Mammals or Mammalia (Latin version of the word);

They belong in the FAMILY Equids or Equidae;

They belong in the SUBFAMILY Equines or Equinae;

They belong in the GENUS Equus (note that there is only ONE version and ONE correct spelling of this term; and that, if we are to be entirely proper, it must always be italicized or in some other manner set off from the rest of the text).

They belong in the SPECIES Equus caballus (again, only ONE version and spelling; and note that the name of a species consists of TWO terms).

The SPECIES Equus caballus is divided into (or consists of) a certain number of subspecies as set forth in the "Mammalian Species" paper. Every subspecies, by definition, is associated with a certain bounded geographical area, to which it is peculiarly adapted. The Sorraia, like all Jennets, developed as a southern (Iberian) population of the subspecies associated with Europe west of the Rhine-Rhone boundary, Equus caballus caballus. The Sorraia's nearest relatives would be Navarrenos, Galicenos, and Asturcones, which are Iberian as it is; but all of them are merely the southern branch of the same subspecies which also includes the Exmoor and Shetland Ponies and all Draft breeds.

The Sorraia is not a subspecies, and it is not a distinct species. There are a good number of salesmen and badly-informed amateurs out there who would like to give it any number of names, but the only correct scientific name for it is the one I've just told you above. The Sorraia is a domestic horse; much of its population is currently feral and has been feral for a long time in its area of origin. That they have been feral in this area for a long time, i.e. perhaps since the Middle Ages, does not make them "wild" or "primitive".

There are no Sorraias in the United States; buckskin-colored Mustangs or Colonial Spanish Horses of whatever registry have zero Sorraia ancestry. Buckskin or dun is just a color, like any other color, and does not indicate anything about the ancestry of the horse (except that one or both of its parents has genes that dilute bay or black color to buckskin or dun; see Phil Sponenberg's books on horse color).

Hope this answers the question you asked, and also some questions you didn't ask but were probably lurking in the background. -- Dr. Deb

Obino
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 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2018 04:57 pm
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Well I can always come up with more questions lurking in the background and I have to say you amaze me. I don't know how you write so much. The amount of writing you do boggles my mind. My name is Roxanne and I'm half Italian hence the obino noname for my Forum name. About 8 years ago I bought your book Conquerors and at that time I read it cover-to-cover. Now I use it to read additional information mostly when I have more questions about what you've written in Equus. I am fascinated by the subject of history and horses. What are slowly learned over time is that the environment matters and shapes the animal. I also do have Sponenburg's book have loved genetics since high school. I did think Equus caballus referred to the draft type. So I will just use the terms draft type Oriental warmblood Etc from now on I didn't realize I was incorrect on that. I am in love with a Spanish or Iberian horse and I have 2 Spanish bred horses, one is a purebred Paso Fino the other is 3 quarters Peruvian Paso and 1/4 Spotted Saddle Horse. I absolutely love them and one of the things I was trying to figure out was why they are so different from a Spanish Mustang? Their body conformation seems to be quite different from each other. To me a lot of Spanish Mustangs look more like the Barb horse. Where. Jennets back then like our Paso's? From what I've read in your writings it seems that Spain did not send it's best horses to start with which makes sense when sending horses and Men across an ocean where you don't know what exists. I was wondering if maybe they sent horses who were part Barbs full Barbs Etc on those first voyages?

I am also wondering about the Mustangs in the West they a seem like the more Southern horse look Barbs. Horses in the Northern Plains look heavier and more like in some cases to me the draft type. I I'm coming to the conclusion and maybe I'm wrong that horses even if they are a barb change in accordance with the climate they are in. So two types of Barb horse would be created by the environment? And do horses develop heavier muscular culture to help them stay warmer? I'm guessing again and thinking heavier muscles would allow for greater heat retention?

The Sorraria I knew was not a primitive horse from what I've learned from you in your book and your articles. I was curious as to whether Spain used it in the production of their Jennet. Any underlining in this letter occurred because my goofy spell check or something did it I didn't do it so part in that and ignore it it's just my Android phone acting up.

Obino
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 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2018 05:16 pm
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To clarify myself I actually mistakenly did think that caballus was the Latin name for the draft subspecies. That's where I got mixed up. I have slowly been thinking. And I'm figuring out the horses even though they are draft can morph into different body shapes in accordance with the climate. At least that's my guess from what you wrote and I did think the Sorraria was a warmer region draft type. But I got mixed up on the proper terminology so I will just refer to them as I said draft, Oriental warmblood Etc.

Obino
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 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2018 05:20 pm
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I also do understand that there are certain characteristics though irregardless of the region they come from that seem to distinguish them. Such as the undulating head profile that you Illustrated for the draft subspecies.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2018 06:50 am
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Obino, I do love your online name. For those reading this who do not know what the reference is, 'Obino' is an old Italian word for a certain breed of horse that used to be featured in the Medieval Palio races. It is, in fact, the Italian equivalent of the English word 'Hobby', for all Italian Obinos descended from imported Hobbies so i.e. they are the same breed of horse. And of course, the Hobby is far and away the world's most important and influential breed of horse, even though they are now extinct 'as such'; because they are the base bloodline on the distaff side of the pedigree for a long list of breeds: Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, and Morgan, and all the breeds that derive from those including American Saddlebred, American Standardbred, and the French and Russian trotters and several Brazilian breeds, and so forth. So 'Obino' is a very important word to know.

Now, as to the rest of what we were talking about: my dear, you suffer from inexperience with the terminology so that you easily get mixed up. There are actual rules which we scientists absolutely are obligated to follow when using scientific terminology. We are taught these rules during the course of our graduate education; but since you haven't had that training, it is not surprising that it's a little difficult. But to reiterate:

The name of a SUBSPECIES must have THREE TERMS: so for example, Equus caballus caballus is the name of the horse subspecies that occupied, and developed in, the part of Europe west of the Rhine-Rhone boundary. So 'Equus caballus' is NOT the name of a subspecies.

The name of a SPECIES always has TWO TERMS: so for example, Equus caballus is the name of the horse species as a whole, that is, including all its subspecies.

Now, as to the suggestion you make regarding a horse that has a certain kind of body build or phenotype 'morphing' into another phenotype: sorry, that does not occur except in the movies. In the movies, you can get Professor Lupin morphing into his wolfman shape. In the movies, you can have Mr. Hyde morphing into Dr. Jekyll. In the movies and cartoons, you can have Transformers morphing from one appearance to another. What distinguishes morphing from evolution by natural selection is that reproduction, and the superior survival rate of better-adapted offspring over time, is not involved. Morphing is, in fact, totally UNconnected with the environment in which Professor Lupin, Mr. Hyde, or any given Transformer is found.

Biologists universally work with the paradigm called evolution. Evolution means 'iterative change through time.' 'Iteration' means 'changing one characteristic at a time.' Ultimately, that means altering the genetic makeup or DNA sequence that governs the organism's development and capabilities through time. 'Through time' means 'generation by generation.' There are no generations involved in morphing.

This is an incredibly common confusion engendered by people watching movies and cartoons, by the fact that their High School teachers did not themselves correctly understand or teach about evolution, and by the fact that after all, most people did not major in biology but studied other things.

One last thing to mention: there is a link between how we believe an organism, such as the horse species, evolved, and the taxonomic terminology we use to name it. This link is not perfect but biologists involved in the field of systematics concern themselves with it considerably, arguing back and forth as to which system of nomenclature best represents the real (genetic, generational) relationships between organisms. This is the reason that the received terminology periodically changes, that someone will make a discovery that clarifies the relationships between organisms (and recently there have been a large number of these, because of our newfound ability to 'read' the DNA); and when that happens, systematic biologists will immediately feel the need to jump in there and revise the taxonomy/nomenclature to better reflect the new knowledge. -- Dr. Deb


Obino
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 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2018 08:46 pm
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Thank you kindly for the answers to my questions. I have very limited internet access so I am sorry also that it took so long for my tardy reply.


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