Everyone is familiar with the more common breeds of horse, the Thoroughbred, the Quarter Horse, The Clydesdale etc. But there are literally hundreds of horses around the world that are little known, outside their own geographical area. In this article you’ll find information about a few of the less well-known breeds of horse, with links to online resources where they are available.
Maremmano The Maremanno hails from Maremma, a former marshland on the coast of Tuscany and is also known as the Tuscan horse. Maremmano horses are the traditional mounts of the butteri, or cattlemen, of the region. They were also used by the Italian Cavalry.
The Maremmano is believed to be descended from the Neopolitan horses which were made famous in the sixteenth century by Federico Grisone, the founder of the Neopolitan Riding Academy. Grisone was considered to be the first of the great clasical ridng masters after the Greek, Xenophon.
Cross-breeding with English horses including the Norfolk Roadster resulted in a rather coarse, but useful horse, about 15.3 hands in height, with upright shoulders and flat withers. The breed has become more refined in recent years by the introduction of Thoroughbred blood resulting in a horse more suited to equestrian sports, such as jumping and cross country riding. They can be any solid color, with bays, browns and blacks being most common.
The Maremmano is a good worker, with strength and toughness combined with a calm nature, making it an excellent choice for working cattle in its home region. The breed is versatile enough to be suited for army and police work, as well as light draft work.
Kabardin The Kabardin is a sure-footed horse from the northern Causasus which has for centuries been carrying men over rough mountain terrain. It traces its roots back to the sixteenth century and horses of the steppe tribes which were crossed with Turkomen, Persian and Karabakh horses.
Standing between 15 and 15.2 hands in height, the Kabradin is predominantly bay or black in color, usually with few, if any, white markings. It has a long face and roman noses are not uncommon.It is a muscular horse with fairly straight shoulders and low withers. The back is short and straight, the bone is good, although the hind legs have a tendancy to be sickle shaped.
Kabardin horses are still grazed in the high mountain pastures in the summer and in the foothills in winter and they have developed into a tough, sturdy mountain breed with great endurance.Their sure-footedness and toughness has made them ideally suited to endurance riding and especially safe on mountainous trails.
Wielkopolski The Wielkopolski is one of Poland’s most important warmblood breeds, although it is probably the least known. Its origins go back to the Poznan and Masuren, which are both now extinct. These two breeds were combined and additional crosses with Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian blood have eliminated the differences between the two original breeds. The result is a quality, handsome, well-proportioned horse that is bred mainly in western and central Poland.
Standing 16.2 hands high, the Wielkopolski has a deep, powerful body with strong muscular quarters amd hind legs which contribute to its jumping ability. All solid colors are acceptable.
The Wielkopolski is popular as a competition horse, where its natural balance and good paces make it well suited for dressage and its powerful conformation make it suitable for jumping.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at some lesser-known breeds of horse. Eventually, the Breeds section listed in the navigation bar on the left will contain full breed profiles of all breeds of horse.