Abandoned in the wild, they have existed as one or two herds for a century and are to be found beween 1300 to 1500 metes above sea level around the monastery of Zoodochos Pighi above the village of Arginia, 8.5 kms away where the only spring on Mount Ainos is to be found.
The terrain is wild and rocky and scarred with deep ravines and gullies. In the higher parts is the forest with its unique pine trees. The horses are descendants of the horses of Pindos mountains in north eastern Greece . The many decades of life in isolation, the hard living conditions and their resistance and adjustment to hardship brought their differentation to the point of being a separate pure breed. Their medium height classifies them between the breeds of Pindos and Skyros.
The horses of Ainos are said to be direct descendants of the Greek horses of Alexander the Great and they are one of the few species in Greece and in the world existing today in a free state. Similar sightings of wild horses in Europe have only occurred in the Rodan area in France and in parts of Poland. The horses are extremely shy and will disappear into the trees at the slightest evidence of man by sight or smell.
Photos by Louis Ameida