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It is only recently, about ten years ago, that the Apennine horse it received the official breed recognition, because in 2010 and not before it was included in the national registry of breeds-populations with limited circulation. At that time, in Italy there were about 300 mares in Emilia-Romagna alone and just under 2,000 spread throughout the hilly and mountainous areas of Italy, from Sicily to Lombardy. It is a "mountaineer" animal, rustic but docile and accustomed to fatigue, a horse that is also bred in Italy and that has no stratospheric prices, but this does not mean that it should be considered a second-class horse.
Apennine horse: origins
Although its officialization took place a short time ago, this horse had already existed for some time also in our parts. We have news of first examples in Freiberg (Franches-Montagnes), these are horses that had been imported from Switzerland by the company of the entrepreneur Vittorio Ortalli towards the end of the 1960s. In this way, the Apennine horse crossed the Italian border and began to settle in the territory of the aforementioned company, or on the softReggio hills.
It took a short time to notice its peculiarities and its many talents. And this is how, before being a race, it had already spread to much of the territory ofTuscan-Emilian Apennines, especially where there were badlands, its perfect habitat because they are rich in poor pastures and with a climate that has very high temperature variations between summer and winter compared to other areas of Italy.
When the territory welcomed it, the Apennine horse it has adapted to it and has also slightly modified some of its characteristics that it already had and which in a certain sense it has enhanced, year after year. We refer above all to the rusticity and adaptability of this animal, two qualities that we still recognize and that have allowed him to integrate better into the local ecosystem both at an environmental and socio-economic level.
Apennine horse: characteristics
Let's start with the strangest characteristics of this horse, those that even those who do not have an eye trained to look at this type of animals, could not fail to notice. They are particular signs that make it unique and recognizable. On the head they very often appear list and star, or it may have frills on the limbs or a cloak called "backpack", because it is totally devoid of white hair.
Removed these peculiarities, let's see its standard characteristics starting from its height which at the withers can vary from 150 to 160 cm, in the case of females it also drops to 140. As a weight we are around 600 kg, as a maximum. Its head is rather light and well proportioned to the rest of the body.
It has a straight profile that continues along the harmonious neck and connects it to the shoulder, muscular but not squat. The back of the Apennine horse is as wide as the withers, in relief, while the loins are well attached even if wide. There croup is quite sloping, wide and long, comfortable in a sense, and the chest is muscular. The thorax is that of a hardworking horse, very sturdy and strong, while the limbs are dry and terminate with wide and solid hooves and are of considerable elasticity and hardness. The cloak of the Apennine horse is rustic and used to withstand the elements, it can be both bay and chestnut.
Apennine horse: aptitudes
Contrary to what stereotypes about mountain characters suggest, this animal is incredibly docile and gentle with the human being and has a good character that goes well with its rustic appearance. This combination is perfect for making him a desired animal to become even heavy shooting. It must be admitted that in some cases it is bred as a meat horse but not only, fortunately. Thanks to its robust physique it is considered a versatile horse and therefore suitable for working in many fields, even in equestrian tourism.
Apennine horses: breeding
One characteristic that has helped the spread of this breed is certainly his frugality. Today but also in the past, compared to other horses, it has always been a very economical breeding horse and able to adapt to the pastures where it lives, which are always rather scarce.
Breeding today a specimen of Apennine horse it doesn't cost that much. In Italy, however, we do not find many farms. Here are two that, if we are interested in the breed, we can contact for more information on it.
In the Province of Massa, in Tuscany, we find theBoschetti Alessia farm in the municipality of Comano where there is a breeding in the wild of foals born on the farm and raised with particular attention to their correct joint development. In Emilia Romagna, we then find the Podere Casa Chierica, in the province of Piacenza, in the municipality of Borgonovo Val Tidone. It is an Apennine horse farm registered in the "Apennine horse breed" registry and the animals are raised in a semi-wild state.
You may also be interested in our related article withcomplete list of all horse breeds with individual detailed sheets dedicated to each breed.