The Messara was developed in the Messara region on the island of Crete by crossing native mountain-type mares on Arabian stallions imported during the Turkish occupation. It is now a very rare breed, and is thought to be on the verge of extinction.
The main coat colours found in the Messara are bay, brown (a variation of bay), black and gray. They usually stand between 12.2 and 14 hands high. They retain have some characteristics of their Arabian ancestors. Most Messara ponies have a natural pacing gait that is easy and comfortable to ride.
Messara ponies are used for light farm work and for transportation. The stallions are often crossed with female donkeys (Jennies) to produce hinnies.