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The Sicilian horse indigenous is an animal that is part of the island's native fauna and has been known for several years. It is not particularly widespread and what is interesting to know about him in addition to his appearance, character and attitudes, is also his history and everything that has been done and is being done to ensure that he is recognized and known in the world, bred and preserved.
Sicilian horse: origins
Although we know that this type of horses has existed in Sicily for a very long time, it is not possible for us to consult documents that prove it because they would all seem to have been lost. Despite this, the enthusiasts have not given up and have just more recently started gods projects aimed at recovery, to the protection and research of the origins of this breed. This is an institutional program at a regional level that began with an initial experimentation carried out by the Experimental Zootechnical Institute for Sicily in Palermo.
This first step has been made from 2005 to 2007, with some background in 2004 and the Institute acted through an agreement with the A.R.A.C.S.I (Regional Association of Sicilian Indigenous Horses) and the G.E.S. (Sicilian equestrian group) based in Corleone. The purpose of this first step was to make it possible to concretely implement and launch the regional project called "Study and characterization of the equine populationto insular attributable to the ethnic group of the indigenous Sicilian horse ". Its author is the equinist Tiziano Bedonni.
Let's go deeper into how this work was done because it makes us understand how the process of protection and recognition of a horse breed can be, even if as old as that of Sicilian horse.
After having previously and "randomly" verified the feasibility of the project on the Sicilian territory, the Institute was able to start the preliminary recovery project which provided the experimenters with essential guidelines to be able to continue. Let's see some of them. First of all, it should be noted immediately that no subject can be classified as "Sicilian horse" until the third generation certified as part of the current project and the establishment of the Book of Race is reached.
It seems obvious but it must be written in black and white that the Sicilian horse can only be born in Sicily and the foals must be imprinted at birth and then trained according to the dictates and techniques of Italian natural ethological riding. Always foals from birth must be monitored and photographed and their parameters are detected on special morphological-linear and weight survey cards so that their growth is followed with the utmost attention. In this way the Sicilian horse is for now the only existing European breed fully monitored since its debut.
Up to the age of 8 or 9 months it is also necessary to provide for annual reviews with model and even "confidence" tests. As adults these horses must not be absolutely shod but only trimmed according to nature and respecting the "Decalogue of the bare foot" and they must not be castrated.
Characteristics of the Sicilian Horse: height and weight
We can safely define this horse as a medium-sized animal since the height at the shoulder can vary between 155 and 160 centimeters for stallions and between 153 and 158 centimeters for mares. The weight is around 450 -500 kg depending on age and sex and if we want another reference measure we can take that of the chest circumference which for stallions is 178-185 cm and for mares 175-187 cm . The head of this horse is quite light and shows a straight profile, the ears are small, the eyes instead very expressive and large. The sturdy and pyramidal neck connects it to the body, which is also massive with a shoulder: muscular and lean and a straight lumbar back line and a muscular, oblique rump. Moving on to the limbs, he has a very long and straight thigh, constricted, a hard and solid foot that expresses a strong constitution. Tendons and joints are quite strong and developed,
As for the coat, colors are accepted today bay, black bay (morello), chestnut, gray and the various derivations, also accepted spots in the shape of stars in the forehead and stars between the nostrils - traces of balzane.
Sicilian horse: character
This horse is known for having a temperament very docile and those who ride him consider him a reliable companion. He is rustic and this can be seen from his neurile vein which, however, does not get him to have a bad reputation. It is also highly appreciated for its versatility.
Sicilian horse: attitudes
This horse is one that is used since Carabinieri regiment on horseback, a nice confirmation of its value as a military cavalry horse Today it is also used in other contexts such as for equestrian tourism, cross country, work riding and saddle
Sicilian horses: breeding in Italy
Today the Sicilian horse is not extinct at all but is bred almost only in some areas that correspond to those that in fact are its areas of origin. To go and see it live it is worthwhile go to Sicily reaching Val Demone (Nebrodi), Val di Mazzara (Madonie and Palermo), Agrigento, Val di Noto (Syracuse and Ragusa) and Militello in Val di Catania (Tenuta Ambelia).
You may also be interested in our article on the Persano Horse.