Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
New Account! Forgot?    
Email: Pass:
Big Book of Breeds
Our Massive Real World Equine Reference!


[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Salernitano (Sal)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Salernitano (also known as 'Salerno') is an endangered Italian saddle breed. It is named after the province of Salerno from where it originated.

Back in the 4th, the Salerno province was already famous for its rich pastures and hospitable climate that made it ideal for breeding horses. The Salernitano itself emerged from crossings made between Oriental and Andalusian horses with native breeds.

In the 17th century, Salernitano horses were primarily used for light transportation, in which they excelled thanks to their impressive speed and endurance. As such, in the second half of the 18th century, some Salernitano horses were selectively bred at a new stud farm at Persano, to improve their performance as racehorses. The result of this breeding program is the Persano breed (see the 'Persano' for more info).

In the 19th century, many Salernitano horses were crossed with Thoroughbreds in order to increase the size of the Salernitano. These improved Salernitano horses became popular as cavalry horses for the Italian army, especially because of the energetic spirit that they inherited from their Thoroughbred ancestors, and because of their innate bravery.

Following World War I, the usage of Salernitano horses in the Italian cavalry declined. On top of that, horse-races also lost their popularity in Italy, and, to make matters worse, mechanization of agriculture and transportation decreased the overall need for horses. Many farmers decided to release their Salernitano horses to the wild, as they had no use for them.

Nevertheless, the Salernitano was saved thanks to a special breeding program, which involved crossing Salernitano horses with Thoroughbreds. This greatly affected their conformation, and improved their athleticism even more.

As the interest in equestrian sports grew, the Salernitano gained once again the interest of Italian breeders, thanks to its talent in show-jumping and steeplechase racing. Furthermore, during the 1950s and 1960s, Salernitano and Salernitano half-bred horses carried their riders to the podium in international jumping competitions, including in the 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1972 Summer Olympics.

However, as the 20th century progressed, German, Dutch, and Belgian Sport Warmbloods outperformed Salernitano horses. As a result, the Salernitano horses fell from fame, and their numbers dwindled, to such a point that fewer than 100 of them were left by 2015. Today, the purebred Salernitano is an endangered breed in Italy, though there are efforts to save it.

Generally speaking, the conformation of Salernitano horses is similar to that of other European sport breeds. Their profile is straight or slightly convex, their necks are medium or long in length, their withers are very prominent, and their legs are long. That said, Salernitano horses can be slightly heavier, especially in their heads that are long and deep, and their necks that are muscular and thick. Their legs are often slim, but their hooves are solid.

Indeed, Salernitano horses are excellent sport horses, especially thanks to their brave and energetic personality. However, they also tend to have a mind of their own, meaning that they don't always listen to the rider and can be difficult to handle. As such, the Salernitano is often described as a horse that is suitable for experienced riders.

Salernitano horses come in the colors of bay, brown, black chestnut, and grey, though the latter is rarer. Other colors don't exist in this breed, as they are banned from breeding. The coat is always solid, and often has white markings. Salernitano horses stand between 15.3hh and 17.1hh.


[ INDEX ] [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
BBB Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions Rules Credits Road Map Fan Art
Copyright © 2017-2022 Horse Isle