Napoletano Horses
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Napoletano, or Neapolitan, Horsesrnoriginated on the plains between Naples and Caserta, in the Campania region ofrnItaly, but may have been bred throughout the Kingdom of Naples. Neapolitanrnhorses were frequently mentioned in literature from the 16th to the 19thrncentury and noted for their quality. Corte wrote in 1562: ‘in Italy the horsesrnof the Kingdom of Naples are greatly esteemed; [there] many fine coursers arernborn ... suitable for use in war and in the manège and for every service thatrnthe rider may require.’ The decline of the breed was noted in the early 20thrncentury by Mascheroni (1903) and Fogliata (1908). Some sources state that byrn1950, the original Neapolitan horse was deemed extinct, but its lines werernincorporated into other breeds, most notably the Lipizzaner, however, a breedrncalled the Napolitano exists in Italy today, and is recognized by the Italianrngovernment. According to Gouraud, ‘a dedicated breeder is hoping to be able tornrebuild the breed.’ La Repubblica reports that the attempt is based on a singlernstallion, Neapolitano ‘Il Vecchio’, which belonged as a foal to Marshal Tito andrnpassed when old to a Serbian farmer, from whom it was purchased and imported tornItaly in 1989.

Napoletano horses are asrnthey are known today is one of the fifteen indigenous horse ‘breeds of limitedrndistribution’ currently recognised by the AIA, the Italian breeders'rnassociation, under the terms of Ministerial decree D.M. 24347 dated 5 Novemberrn2003; its status was listed in 2007 as critical by the Food and AgriculturernOrganization of the United Nations.  Inrn2005, a total population of 20 mares and 4 stallions was registered.

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