The Maremmana has a rather vague background,
but it is generally considered that the breed is based on early
stock that came from North Africa, combined with Spanish, Barb,
Neopolitan, and Arabian blood. During the 19th century the breed
was exposed to infiltrations of Thoroughbred blood and also probably
Norfolk Roadster and some half-bred stallions. By the end of the
19th century, the Maremmana features had become fixed although it
was not until 1980 that the breed's studbook was opened.
They are mainly bred in the northern
regions of Maremma in Tuscany and were really established through
the efforts of the stud at Grosseto, although there are still herds
of Maremmana being bred in a semi wild state in some local areas.
It is likely that they were originally developed for agricultural
use and would have been used to work the land, as well as working
in harness. They were also employed by the cavalry as troop horses
and have often been used by the police force. The Maremmana excels
at working cattle. They are frequently used by the Italian ranch
hands and cowboys, known as butteri, and demonstrate an enormous
about of 'cow sense', similar to that seen in the American Quarter
Horse. 'Cow sense' is probably best described as the horse's natural
instinct to follow and herd cows.
The Maremmana is a natural highly athletic
and agile animal, and is known for its considerable jumping ability.
A Maremmana horse called Ursus del Laseo won the Italian Jumping
Championships in 1088; they are today frequently crossed with Thoroughbreds
to produce jumping horses. The Maremmana is typically an extremely
tough and hard animal with god stamina and endurance. They are resistant
to fatigue and seemingly have a very sound constitution. They are
also economical to keep, being frugal feeders, and in spite of quite
haphazard breeding policies within the breed, they do tend to be
versatile and steady in character, which makes up for their less
than perfect conformation.
Generally they have a long and heavy
head, a good, muscular neck, prominent withers, fully chest with
slightly sloping shoulders, a short, straight back, sloping hindquarters,
and solid legs. Usually any solid color, they stand between 15 hh
and 15.3 hh.
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