Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Maremmano   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Maremmano is one of Italy's oldest breeds. It is known for being an excellent stock horse, who has a brave and energetic, yet assertive, personality. It is named after the Maremma region where it originated.

The ancestors of the Maremmano are horses who existed during the time of the Etruscans; an ancient civilization that inhabited Italy between 800 and 300 BC. During and after this time period, many foreign armies. mounted on foreign horses, invaded Italy. Crossbreeding between these foreign horses and local Italian horses probably took place, and might have influenced the Maremmano breed.

In the 16th century, the Maremmano was known for its dark coat, heavy build, and hardy nature. These qualities attracted the attention of both the Papal States, who sought to breed the Maremmano and use it as a carriage horse, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, who sought to cross the Maremmano with Spanish horses, in order to refine its appearance. Consequently, the increasing demand for Maremmano horses led to the establishment of many dedicated breeding farms. In all of these farms, the breeding stock was kept in wild conditions, because this practice ensured the sturdiness and robustness of this breed.

The 20th century brought with it great hardships to the ancient Italian breed. Specifically, the breeding of Maremmano horses first took a hit at the beginning of the 20th century, when many breeding farms were closed, followed by World War I, during which many Maremmano horses were taken to serve as cavalry horses. The breed began to recover during the 1930s, but took another heavy blow with the eruption of World War II, for two reasons: first, many Maremmano mares were crossed with donkeys, rather than with Maremmano stallions, to create mules, and second, many Maremmano horses were taken to serve as cavalry mounts yet again. In fact, many Maremmanos took part in the last largest cavalry charge in history, on the Russian steppe. Furthermore, after the end of the war, the breed endured yet another blow during the 1950s, when reforms of the agriculture industry in Italy led to the closure of many breeding farms. All of these events led to a sharp decline in the number of Maremmano horses.

In addition to all of the above, there was another main event that threatened the existence of the pure Maremmano. From the early 20th century, breeders began to cross their Maremmano horses with Thoroughbreds, in order to improve the speed and the jumping-ability of the Maremmano. This form of crossbreeding created a new type of the Maremmano horse, known as 'Maremmano Migliorato' ("improved Maremmano"), who became popular among Italian riders. This prompted breeders to cross more Maremmano horses with Thoroughbreds, thus making the purebred Maremmano even rarer.

The original Maremmano was subsequently saved thanks to its talent as a stock horse, which made it essential for Italian ranchers. Despite the hardships, they continued to breed the original Maremmano breed, and thus prevented its extinction. Similarly, in order to maintain the purity of the Maremmano in Horse Isle, breeders should avoid crossing it with the Maremmano Migliorato, even though it is its subtype.
Today, the Maremmano is an all-around horse who usually serves as a stock horse or a police mount, but also serves for trekking and various equestrian disciplines. This intelligent breed has good agility and endurance, as well as a brave and energetic nature. While the Maremmano loves to test its riders, and can be difficult to ride, it can make an excellent mount for experienced riders.

The conformation of the Maremmano is somewhat iconic, and is characterized by a very long and heavy head with a convex profile, a thick neck, prominent withers, a short back, sturdy legs, and a wide and muscular body.

Maremmano horses come in the colors of bay, black, and brown. In addition, while chestnut allowed only in Maremmano mares, in Horse Isle this color is also allowed for stallions as well. The coat of Maremmano horses is always dark, often sooty, and can be mealy. Furthermore, white markings are restricted to the face or the lower legs. Therefore, in Horse Isle, Maremmano horses can have face or lower-leg markings, but not both. Maremmano horses stand between 15.3hh and 16.3hh.

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