Those crazy Italians

...and on the eighth day, God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

This week, the Italian cavalry is arriving by trail on a couple of horses known as the, “Murgese,” and the, “Maremmana.”

The Maremmana originates in the Tuscany region of Italy, and its name comes from a marshy coastal area known as the Maremma. (1)

There has been much cross breeding with the bloodlines, therefore the actual origins are unclear.

It would appear there is some Norfolk Trotter blood mixed in, which gives the Maremmana some improved knee action, along with a mixture of Barb, adding stamina and endurance.

It is not an attractive mount, due to poor planning in breeding programs.

However, not only is it used as an all-around trail and riding horse, it is a favorite of the Italian police mounted units, and was once used in the Italian Cavalry.

It really excels at working cattle and is used by Italian cowboys, who are known as, “butteri,” (2) to round up and herd the local cattle and buffalo in the area.

The Maremmana is calm, versatile and works hard.

Of late, it has found a new job in the Italian tourist industry, giving cross-country trail rides to visitors who want an up-close look at the beautiful fields and forests.

The Maremmana is from Italy and is considered a Warmblood, coming in at 15HH to 15.3HH.

They come in all solid colors.

They thrive best in the Mediterranean climate and are used for light draft work and trail riding.

Generally good-natured, it has a plain-looking head with a short to average neck that does not set well on a muscular chest.

The shoulder has a slight slope, with a short, straight back.

It has strong legs and hard feet.

The Murgese is a very attractive, stocky, drafty, Morgan-looking horse with an uncertain background. (3)

First development of the breed began in the 15th century, when cavalries were being formed.

It was a popular cavalry mount in the 16th century, also.

Taking its name from the Murge area, in the Italian Puglia region, it would appear there is Arabian, Neapolitan, Barb and possibly some Avelignese blood, the Italian version of the Haflinger.

The breed eventually fell into decline, however, in the 1920's, a group of people with renewed interest helped to re-establish the it.

The new-style of modern Murgese may not bear much resemblance to its ancestors; it appears to be more refined, with Thoroughbred blood being added at some point.

The Murgese is a tough horse, but very nice looking, with a long mane and tail.

It is good-natured and an easy keep.

Murgese horses are still used for light draft work and agriculture, but it is gaining popularity as a trail horse.

The Murgese comes from Italy and is considered a Warmblood, coming in at 15HH to 16HH.

They come in chestnut and black, or occasionally gray.

Murgese horses thrive in the Mediterranean climate and are mostly used for trail riding or light draft work, with a calm disposition.

Their heads are appealing, with a convex nose.

A muscular, drafty neck with full mane sits on a nice, broad chest and slightly, sloping shoulder.

The back is of average length, with a beefy hind quarter and well-placed tail set, on strong legs and large hooves. Nice.

What a great vacation it would make, to go trail riding in the Italian countryside, view some Roman ruins, traipse a-la-horseback through the grape vineyards, and stop in to a winery for some sampling. Or maybe trying some selections from the local restaurants is in order, making new friends all along the way.

I would say arrivederci or tchao, but I’ll opt for my ususal, the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1,2, 3: “A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies,” by Corinne Clark