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Italy – Stars and stripes in the saddle

14 November 2021

Spotlight on the Western and American world over the second weekend of Fieracavalli, from today until Sunday 14 November at Veronafiere. The programme includes morphological and aptitude events (hall 1) with 230 horses  representing all American breeds: Quarter, Appaloosa and Paint. Unusual Quarab Horses are also taking part – a cross between Arabian and Quarter horses with the dappled coat typical of Paint.

With 6 million horses registered with AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association), Quarter horses  are one of the most widespread breeds in the world. Well-loved in the popular imagination as “horse of western movies”, Quarter horses are a very versatile and reliable breed, ideal for children and beginners alike, as well as for more technical disciplines in American riding such as reining, and even show jumping and dressage. There are 28,000 duly registered horses in Italy and2,000 breeders, ranking second in Europe after Germany in terms of members and horses, and fifth in the world for Quarter horses on a national scale.

Ranch life comes to the fore at Fieracavalli in the Arena (Hall 3): Stock competitions took inspiration from the Cowboys of the Wild West, where the skills of horse and rider pairs in managing livestock make all the difference. The aim of Team Penning is to separate one or more head of cattle marked by the same number from the herd and guide them into the pen in less than ninety seconds – as well as faster than any other team competing – Ranch Sorting, on the other hand, involves cutting, pushing and closing 10 calves – numbered from 0 to 9 – in the pen within a time limit that may vary from 90 to 60 seconds depending on the Competition category.

Italian passion for the western world is equally highlighted by facts and figures: There are currently 1,500 riders  in Italy who try their hand at stock disciplines, 190 of whom will compete at Fieracavalli in the Italian Ranch Sorting and Team Penning Championships, where the best 5 teams in each regional championship category compete against each other. The programme also includes the Regions Cup, with the 12 best riders from each region competing for the title, and the Lady Category for 40 all-female teams.

More than just sport and morphology, Western riding is an authentic lifestyle that also starts with the palate. Outside areas C and D of Fieracavalli will serve typical North American dishes, from hamburgers to pulled pork by way of sausage and beans and grilled meat.

The American world is also highly enjoyable. The three equestrian days offer many occasions for entertainment, such as country and line dance lessons.

Without forgetting shopping: Hall 6 has countless stands displaying articles with the feel of the Old West. Items include large belts, hand-crafted boots, hand-woven hats and bolo ties, while Comancheros even offers original handmade calfskin chaps complete with more than 3,000 original Swarovski rhinestones at the exclusive price of 8,000 euros.

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