Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group
  We use molecular tools to study the evolution of diversity, and assist in its conservation

Retuertas horse network

The Retuertas horse is a feral breed that lives in the Guadalquivir marshes in Doñana National Park. Horses have been living in the marshy habitat in and around Doñana park for at least several hundred years, and it is thought that these horses were the ones the conquistadors originally took to the Americas. The hardy, smallish horses were traditionally used to pull flat-bottomed boats through the marshes for the collection of eggs, etc.

In the 1960’s a former director of EBD, Javier Castroviejo, recognized that the local people had taken an interest in “improving” these animals through the crossbreeding with other breeds. For this reason he searched out and bought the most “typical” morph animals he could find, which turned out to be two stallions and three mares. He isolated these animals in the Park, and they formed a feral population there. These animals were officially declared a local breed on 2013. Its population is nowadays around two hundred individuals.

Photo: Juanjo Negro

This network claims to join efforts among researchers to develop this system for use in the study of evolution, genetics, ecology, behaviour and domestication, among others.

Photo: Juanjo Negro

Photo: Juanjo Negro

Related Peer-reviewed Articles

Brandariz-Fontes C, Leonard JA, Vega-Pla JL, Backström N, Lindgren G, Lippold S, Rico C (2013) Y-chromosome analysis in Retuertas horses. PLoS ONE 8 (5): e64985 Link