The Aravani is a Greek native horse, which has been used for centuries by the Greek people all over the Greek space.
In 2000 B.C., the Dorians migrated to Greece with their own equines from the steppes. Upon their passing through the area of Thessalia, they bred those equines with the local horses, which they took with them. This is how the ancestors of the Aravani species were born.
Later in time, the Aravani horses were mixed with Persian, Arabian, Turkish and Roman breeds. Especially the Arabic characteristics are dominant in the genetic material of this breed.
Before the 1960, when the mechanization of agriculture began in Greece, the Aravani horses had been used for cart transportation and all sorts of agricultural work, including free pasturage and wood gathering. The latter activity is still carried out with Aravani horses in the mountainous areas of Greece.
Nowadays, this breed -as most native Greek breeds- is mainly used for the purpose of recreation. It is particularly useful for endurance, carriage and equine tourism.
Aravani is well-known for its willingness, patience, high intelligence and kindness. Also, it enjoys the human presence and expresses the need to communicate with the human species.
These characteristics make it the ideal family or school pony. They are also suitable for beginner riders, children and the disabled.
This breed has small and steady hoofs, which provide it with extraordinary balance. In combination with its tendency to watch its step, it is ideal for flat work on any terrain.
The Aravani can have a range of colours, normally grey, black, chestnut, white and dark brown. Its average height is between 130 and 150 cm, but stabled Aravanis may become a little taller. Its head is fine and long, with big eyes, while its neck is strong, very muscly, wide and of medium length. It has a well-shaped chest, while its back is straight. Its quarters are normally inclined and the tail is found on a high spot. The hoofs are small and very hard.
One more physical characteristic of the Aravanis is the side trot, which makes this horse very safe, and suitable for western riding.
Due to the mechanisation of agricultural work, the ignorance of the owners and the lack of a registration book, this wonderful breed faces extinction. It is estimated that up to 300 animals live in Greece and about 20 in Germany.
Here is a video that shows clearly the extraordinary movement and grace of the Aravani horse: