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The Italy of Equestrian Traditions

6 November 2021

Italian breeding sector in the forefront of the Horse Show

Fieracavalli is a vital event for the breeding sector and a chance every year to rediscover Italy’s equestrian traditions and their deep bond with local areas and native breeds. A cross-section of this rural reality will be on hand until Sunday 7 November between Halls 1 and 2, where visitors can admire the finest Italian horse breeds, but above all you can hear what people dedicated to breeding, often involved in the fields for generations, have to say.

Cosimo De Pascalis is a fine example, attending Fieracavalli with the historical teams of Apulia, from a family breeding Murgese horses by now for three generations. Passion for breeding has also been handed down to his children and grandchildren who, in the 45-hectare farm in Manduria (TA), help him look after 60 Murgese horses, including 27 mares.
Apulia is the cradle of Murgese horses and there are more than 200 breeders hereabouts, mostly located in the Bari and Taranto Murgia areas. From a workhorse used to plough fields and transport barrels of wine, over the years the Murgese breed has become an ideal companion for dressage, entertainment and trekking and is held in high regard for its docile character and resistance to climate, drought and uneven ground.

Arcangelo Cavezza, who has attended Fieracavalli for more than 40 years, on the other hand, focuses on Italian Shire Horses, continuing a commitment going back more than four generations to the conservation of this breed with in his stables in Amatrice (RI), which now has 100 horses, including 40 mares.
The Italian Shire Horse boasts historical links with the Verona area and Fieracavalli where, since 1934, important morphological competitions dedicated to this breed have been held. These huge horses were historically also used by the army to pull heavy artillery and, at the same time, ensure fast changes in position. Italian Shire Horses are currently used in Teams and for activities involving children, thanks to their docile nature. This trend has emerged in recent decades, thanks to a return to the past and using this breed even in bio-dynamic agriculture, especially in vineyards and orchards in the Montalcino area, thereby ensuring lower impact on cultivated areas.

Luca Marcora is not only the President of the new ANAREAI Association (National Association of Italian Horse and Donkey Breeders), is a second-generation breeder of Bardigiano horses. His farm tourism centre in Bedonia (PR) has given a new perspective on how best to employ this breed native of the Tuscan-Ligurian-Emilian Apennines with its fulcrum in Bardi (PR) (hence its name). Taking advantage of their strength and mild manner, some of the 42 horses reared on the farm are used for trekking, thereby offering guests – even beginners – the experience of horse riding to the Cinque Terre.
Bardigiano horses are an agricultural breed mainly used for work in the fields and to transport wood and coal, as well as people. Since 1977, with the establishment of the Stud Book for the conservation and recovery of the breed, Bardigiano horses, thanks to their versatility, are involved in many disciplines: from Teams to dressage through to endurance and horseball. During the show dedicated specifically to this the breed, its adaptability to horseback acrobatics will also be seen thanks to all-female “The Greatest Showman” event staged by the young riders of the Bardigiano Riding Society.