Maremma horse breed
The Maremma horse breed is short, thin, strong, rustic, lively and regardless of the weather, for centuries it has had to adapt to the difficult environmental conditions of the Tuscan Maremma.
The Tuscan Maremma is a land with a particular climate, malarial and inhospitable for centuries. The tireless Maremma horse had to adapt to the harshness of this context, survive the numerous mosquitoes, feed, and be content with parched pasture, develop structure, size, musculature, strength, to adhere to the difficult environment. The ancients Etruscans were already breeding one of his own ancestor, selecting races, making crossings, so as to obtain very fast animals with which the other races of the peninsula could absolutely not compete. Strabone, the 1st century AD Roman historian, reports that horses from Gaul and Germany were imported into the region to improve the breed. The bleeding and the crossings of the Maremma horse with Nordic and Central European races continued during the barbarian invasions, Goths and Lombards in particular. During the Renaissance some noble families, especially the Medici, devoted a lot of care to the selection and improvement of their herds by importing Arab stallions from Syria. From these crossings, tempered by the climate and by the places, the Maremmano Horse is born, unmistakable for its strong and lively character, and its strength.
The robustness of the Maremma horse has earned him appreciation over the centuries and safeguarding racial integrity, but also the misfortune of having made a high contribution in all wars.
Horse for the army, once present on all battlefields, from the Crimean war to the last cavalry charges in Russia, now continue the work of always at the service of the Butteri of the Tuscan Maremma. To keep intact the characteristics of solidity, integrity and rusticity, while improving the bloodlines with crosses with the English thoroughbred, the foals are still trained in the semi-wild state, and used by butteri for the equestrian shows (Tournament of the Rose of Alberese and Tournament of the Butteri of Tolfa) and for the branding of the livestock – the so-called Merca – especially Alberese in the protected area of Parco Naturale Regionale della Maremma. Today the Maremma horse is bred mainly in the Province of Grosseto, and also in that of Florence, Arezzo, Livorno, Siena, and enjoys great popularity. Its real kingdom, however, was and remains the Maremma, where it has lived, reproduced and run freely in the vast lands of this area for centuries.
A Buttero and his Maremma Horse – at Work with the Herds in the Tuscan Maremma (Photo by maurci)
Resources on the Maremma Horse
- National Association of Maremma Horse Breeders – Official site of ANAM, whose purpose is the enhancement and dissemination of Maremma horses. It proposes the activities of 2013.