The Galiceno pony, or Galiceno horse is an extremely refined, willing and horse-like pony. It was developed in Mexico and is one of the most beloved ponies of that country. It is very willing to please, trainable and versatile, and enjoys the ability to do almost any activity asked of it.
The Galiceno pony was developed in Mexico in the 16th century from horses shipped to the country in the year 1519. Ancestors of the Galiceno pony include the Galican pony from Spain, the Garrano pony from Portugal, and the Spanish Sorraia. Hernan Cortez was responsible for importing the stock that became the foundation of the breed, when he invaded the land that is now Mexico. In 1519 he landed on North American soil with 16 head of horses, mostly Portuguese Garrano horses, and Galican ponies from Spain.
Throughout the centuries, settlers selected for traits that included stamina, strength, long-windedness and excellent temperament. This led to the Galiceno as we know it today.
In the year 1958, two Texans discovered the ponies on a trip to Mexico. Thinking they would make ideal children’s mount, they decided to import stock to the United States. In 1959, the first breeders association was formed to promote the ponies, and to insure integrity in breeding and bloodlines. This was the beginning of the spread of the ponies popularity.
The ponies are still very rare, but with increased exposure, they will most likely continue to win the hearts of horse aficionados.
The Galiceno pony stands between 12.2 hands and 14 hands tall. The are very attractive in appearance, looking more horse-like in their refinement, rather than pony-like. They have a head of nice proportions, with a kind eye, alert ears, and little resemblance to a pony. They generally have a short and muscular neck, with a slight arch from the withers to the poll.
They are narrow in body and chest, and have fine bone structure. This does not detract from their strength any, as they are still able to carry an adult, and in fact, are oftentimes considered a horse due to this ability. They have nicely sloped shoulders, a shorter back, a sloping croup, and well formed, hard and tough legs. They generally have small hooves that are durable and sound. Oftentimes the ponies conformation is not extremely correct. They are found in any solid color.
They do have one uncommon and peculiar trait, and that is that many of them have a growth of hair, or a moustache on their upper lip. This trait is seen in other breeds including the Gypsy Vanner and other horses of North Iberian ancestry.
The ponies have a wonderful temperament, and are very easy to train. They are very intelligent, and are quick and athletic. They also have great stamina, and ability to carry heavy loads all day over rough terrain, which makes them a popular cowboy’s mount in Mexico. They also have a fast running walk, which is very smooth and comfortable. This is most likely due to their Spanish ancestors.
The pony is very popular in the United States as a children’s mount. They are used for all sorts of competition, from driving, to gymkhana, to dressage and eventing. They are also suitable for light draft work, farm work, as cowboys mounts, and as pack horses. They move in a strong, free and graceful manner, even under considerable weight.