The “hipparion” (small horse) of Skyros has played a major role in Ancient Greece and in Greek history as a whole. Like other horses, it has experienced until the mid-1960’s a close, ongoing partnership with man. Continents have been discovered on horseback and empires conquered; the horse has helped to transport goods and develop the culture of travel. As depicted in iconographies on vases, funeral stelai and statues, the “hipparion” has determined the fate of communities and nations, been decisive in victory or defeat, in wealth and poverty, indeed even in life and death.

Its microsomatic nature, as in other breeds -Shetland, Caspian, Chinese, et al- is due to hard environmental and climatic conditions, but its mild character, stamina, intelligence, as well as other unique characteristics, such as friendliness towards people, adults or children, are legendary.

Having survived for the last two centuries primarily on the Greek island of Skyros, the largest and most remote of the Sporades islands, within just a few decades the horse has become virtually redundant, used in agriculture just as a means of transport for goods.

With regard to the SILVA Project and the Skyros horse, it all started as a hobby when Mrs Sylvia Dimitriadis-Steen was approached in Corfu and asked to provide lodgings for four Skyros horses, two stallions and two mares. By visiting the island of Skyros we became aware of the horses’ situation and their imminent danger of becoming extinct.

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