The Maremmano horse is almost extinct in its original form, but It still exists as a modified race. It evolved from the Neapolitan horse and other European races. In principle, it was originally used for farm and livestock work in the Tuscan region of the Maremma, north of Rome.
Without a doubt, it is one of the most important and ancient Italian races. Currently, a systematic reproduction program has been implemented to maintain the old genotype and ensure a wider variation within the breed.
History of its origin
As we mentioned, the Maremmano horse is originally from Italy, despite a long history of crossings.
This horse had a presence along the Tyrrhenian coast. In fact, it was the Etruscan horse race (800 BC), the first Italians to take horse breeding seriously.
In Roman times there were many crosses. At this time, the careful methods of reproduction of the Etruscans were ignored or forgotten.
Subsequently, there is a long unproductive period. However, during the Renaissance (16th century) there was a resurgence of scientific horse breeding.
Rise and fall of Maremmano horse breeding
Its robust morphology and lush mane and tails have been much appreciated features.
Undoubtedly, during the papal state and Tuscany considerable attention was paid to the breeding of Maremmano horses. These they were used to pull stately carriages, for their power and great presence.
In this period, the breed was infused with blood of Arab, Barb and Andalusian stallions. After the Italian unification (1860), the fame of the Maremmano horses spread and many of them, mainly stallions but also mares, were sent throughout Italy to improve the other races.
The Maremmano horse was much requested by the cavalry. In addition, the careful crossing with thoroughbred, resulted in strong riding horses with good appearance and excellent conformation.
After World War II, the race fell almost into extinction, but interest in her revived in the seventies.
Characteristics of the breed
It is interesting to know that the environmental conditions of their natural habitat (Maremma region) determined the adaptation of the breed to difficult environments. Historically, the region never had favorable conditions, which resulted in the selection of a strong, frugal, long-lived and fertile breed.
Further, The Maremmano horse has a high resistance to diseases. For this reason, the foals show a high survival rate, although they reach late maturity.
The Maremmanos are not the most attractive or fastest race, but they are good and robust workers.
The height at the cross is about 1.58 meters for males and 1.55 for females, at 42 months of age. Typically, the head is large, in some cases convex. They tend to reproduce true to the type and have several distinctive physical characteristics, such as the profile of the ram’s head and thick hair. The neck is long with often wavy mane.
In addition, it has a very strong, slightly long back and powerful hindquarters, well placed tail. Short, strong and clean legs with broad bone; Hard and firm helmets.
The Maremmano horse comes in any solid color. Commonly, it is found in black, brown, laurel and brown fur (only for females).
Use of the Maremmano horse
Traditionally, the Maremmano was the horse of the largest agricultural units and its selective breeding was adapted to meet different needs. Over the years, its development has been greatly influenced by changing demands.
With the mechanization of the army in the twentieth century and also of most forms of agriculture, the future of this breed seemed bleak. At present, the Maremmano and the thoroughbred are kept in similar production systems.
Because of its docility, it is considered to be the ideal companion of any child and adult, to go on excursions or walks. This is also one of the reasons why the Italian mounted police have continued to choose him as part of the team.