Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

BREED SPOTLIGHT: The Maremmano Horse

By Larissa Cox

The Maremmano, also known as Tuscan Horses,  are the traditional mounts of the Maremma cattle men, known as Butteros.   Also used for light draft work, the Maremmano have been best known for their use as cavalry mounts and today they are being used as mounts for the Italian Mounted Police.

The Maremmano’s  have been remembered for their last successful classical cavalry charge in history in August  of 1942 on the  Don River by a cavalry unit of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia on the Eastern Front.  The 2nd squadron of the 3rd Draggons Savoia Cavalleria Regiment, armed with only sabres and hand grenades, outflanked an estimated 2,000 Soviet infantry while the remainder of the regiment took Isbushensky in a dismounted attack.  The Maremmano horse proved to be tough enough to brave the Russian steppe, a feat which few foreign horses could accomplish.

This breed generally stands between 15 and 15.3 hands high and they are usually bay, brown, dark chestnut of black. They have a long, slightly heavy head, a muscular neck that is broad at the base, high, well muscled withers , a full chest and sloping shoulders.  Their back is short, the croup sloping and the legs solid and sturdy with good joints and strong hooves.  This breed is known for their solidity and their ability to adapt to bad weather and rough terrain.  Their disposition is one of a calm nature and very trainable even temperament.

Not much is known about the Maremmano breed, but it is thought that they were developed from North African stock that was combined with Spanish, Bar, Neapolitan and Arabian blood.  During the 19th century, Thoroughbred, Norfolk Roadster and other blood was added and by the end of the 19th century, the breed’s characteristics had become fixed with a studbook being created in 1980.

The Maremmano horse numbers have increased over the last several years.  In 2005, there were about 4,000 horses owned by approximately 1,200 people.

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