Maremmano Horse Tuscany

The Maremmano horse is symbolic of Tuscany's cowboy history. A strong, powerful horse widely known for its resistance and strong character; not at odds with that of his traditional rider: the Buttero.

Nobody knows exactly where the Etruscan people came from, nor their horses. Theories exist that they were African or perhaps Turkish.
What we do know, is that the Etruscan’s bred a tough and fast war and chariot horse, a horse that excelled in Greek competitions and was admired by Roman legions.
The Etruscan horses that grazed along the Tuscan coastline over two thousand years ago were the ancestors of today's Maremmano horse.
The Maremmano breed was influenced heavily with other blood throughout the centuries and has survived wars, famine and occupation.

In the 16th century, the papal state and the Grand Duke of Tuscany were particularly interested in the breeding of the Maremmano horse. Whilst the latter preferred light horses with Andalusian, Neapolitan or oriental Arabian characteristics; the former preferred a larger, robust horse suitable for pulling carriages.

Both types were Maremmano horses even though they were of a different type.
They became known as the Tuscan Maremmano and the Roman (Lazio) Maremmano.
Before the 1800s Tuscan and Roman Maremmano horses were highly prized throughout Europe as riding and carriage mounts.
Malaria hit the region in the early 1800’s which caused a rise in brigands plaguing the countryside with crime, and a Savoy revolution in breeding the native out in the native Italian horse. Things started to go downhill for the Maremmano horse.

In the early 1900‘s two important studs closed down and the brood-mares were bred to any stallions without forethought. The horses were mixed with other local breeds as well as Spanish horses, Thoroughbreds, and even Arabians. The breed fell from grace amongst international enthusiasts who believed that the horse was no longer an Italian breed.
After serving their country in both world wars as cavalry mounts, the Maremmano breed was decimated. Luckily there was a group of devoted breeders in Tuscany and Lazio that managed to keep the breed alive, and these breeders founded a formal breed association and stud book to set out to have the Maremmano return to his former glory.

In the breeds most recent history, four stallions are considered the founding lines. All of the Maremmano horses in today’s stud book go back to one of these lines. These stallions are:

  • Ingres
  • Aiace
  • Othello
  • Ussero

The influence of the thoroughbred is noticeable in many of the sportier types of Maremmano horse and the breed is almost always bay in color. Brood-mares are permitted to be chestnut, but colts that are not bay are cut from the breeding program.
They are tough horses, bred in large herds in one of Tuscany’s wildest landscapes. These horses are traditionally a cowboy mount - that of the Buttero.

Nowadays they are seen competing successfully in Working Equitation, but also in showjumping and dressage.