Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sorraias at Quinta do Sol

Tocara (formerly of Ravenseyrie) and two Sorraia x Garrano mares greet the Sorraia stallion, Bimbo
Quinta do Sol, Côa Valley, Portugal

There are to be found on the internet many "My Pretty Pony" type pictures of impeccably groomed, glossy horses and numerous photos of sport horses trained to high levels for human enjoyment.  Such photos have great meaning for some and no doubt provide the tingling sensation of awe and appreciation for those who like to see horses portrayed in those ways.

For me, it is a rawer image that quickens my pulse and generates a swell of entrancement.  Speaking from the perception of life I am presently experiencing, I prefer to see horses living in wilderness environments - free to choose: when and what to eat, where and when to take shelter, when to run and when to not run, etc.

You can imagine, then, how giddy I was to receive new photos from António Monteiro - (who we read about in last month's journal entry:  Genetic Migration in the Conservation of Sorraia and Sorraia Mustang Horses) - showing where some of  Claudia Radbauer's horses, including two mares born here at Ravenseyrie, are now living.

Levada, Tocara, Epona, Estrelinha and Tieta at Quinta do Sol

Levada (Altamiro x Sovina's Zorita),  Tocara (Altamiro x Belina) and Tocara's filly, Epona (by the Sorraia stallion, Grelo) along with two young Sorraia x Garrano mares were released last month into a property called Quinta do Sol, adjacent to the Faia Brava Nature Reserve in northeast Portugal's Côa Valley.

Epona, Tocara and Levada at Quinta do Sol

The lovely landscape at Quinta do Sol

With the participation of Hardy Oelke and Martha d'Andrade, António and his team were given the opportunity to acquire two Sorraia stallions from Herdade do Azinhal, one of which I saw in person during my visit to Portugal in 2011.

The stallion named, Bimbo (an Italian word of endearment for a child) will live with the mares at Quinta do Sol, while Sombra will be the male force present in the Middle Côa preserve where some of the mares from the Vale de Zebro now live.  The atavistically striped Lusitano colt, Larápio, that Claudia purchased for ATN to run with the five mares will be given time to mature before being expected to live the wild life with the ladies.  Martha tells me that ten year old Bimbo was the leader of their bachelor group of Sorraia stallions and with them was a show off and a bit of a bully...sounds very much like our Altamiro!

This image of António's is one that overflows with poetry...how marvellously Bimbo fits the landscape, as if he was sculpted from it!:

Sorraia stallion, Bimbo day one at Quinta do Sol
An image of inherent poetry!

Sorraia stallion, Bimbo and the windswept expanses at Quinta do Sol

António also sent along a bit of video he took when Bimbo was released (after a many hours journey) into the Quinta do Sol landscape.  The mare who comes up to say "hello" is our very own Tocara...how it makes my eyes wet with happiness to see where she is now!

Squalls at dawn, over Ravenseyrie

Spring comes much slower to Manitoulin Island than it does to Portugal, but our spectacular vistas are enjoyable all times of the year - and when I hike out to visit with our Sorraia bachelors and sit for a sip of the warming magic of Alpen Bitters No. 7,  it is immeasurably pleasant to be thinking of Tocara and Levada grazing in the Côa Valley with a fine looking Sorraia stallion - free to "be"!

Watching the horses while the sun sets at Ravenseyrie

View from the Top of the World at Ravenseyrie

Fidalgo, full brother to Tocara

Altamiro, sire of Tocara and Levada