Existing primarily on the secluded island of Skyros, the Skyrian horse, or Skyros pony, looks as if it were meant for a child. Although it shares many of the proportions of larger horses, the breed stands at a mere 100 to 110 cm (3.2to 3.6 ft). Some legends connect the small but mighty Skyrian horse with those that Achilles took to Troy, while other theories link the breed to the small horses that appear on the frieze of the Parthenon temple in Athens. There is no concrete proof for these claims, but evidence suggests that the breed has survived relatively isolated in Greece for several thousand years.

A typical Skyrian horse is one solid color, usually black, brown, gray, or bay, and has a thick, plush mane. It has similar proportions to a full-size horse, with small, strong hooves. They stand about 10 hands tall, or 3.5 feet at the shoulder, officially classifying them as a pony.

The semi-wild Skyrian horse, or Skyros pony, has lived on the Greek island of Skyros for 2,000 years. But due to overgrazing of sheep, disappearing habitat, and interbreeding with donkeys, the horse has declined to only about 200 individuals left on Earth, most of which live on Skyros. According to Amanda Simpson, who runs the Skyros Island Horse Trust, saving the horse is very difficult within Greece’s economic situation.

"Even though it’s a rare breed and there’s status, there [are] no kinds of funding in terms of government resources. These are sort of living museums. You actually have a living breathing piece of history. It would seem criminal to see them go into extinction.”

Simpson, originally from England, founded the trust in 2005 after visiting Skyros and seeing that the horses needed help. The trust promotes awareness of the horse, monitors the wild population, and sometimes takes in ponies that are sick or injured. They also breed horses and use them for education.

To keep the breed alive, the Skyros Island Horse Trust is using a multifaceted approach, such as keeping track of bloodlines to ensure that each new generation is diverse, finding homes for horses on the island's farms, and keeping some animals that are sick or old.

"In some ways, welfare for the horses is looking up, because we have a vet on the island now. The horses are loving and have a great deal of personality."