Sarcidano Horses
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Sarcidano Horses ( orCavallo del Sarcidano) are a rare breedrnof semi-feral horse originating from the Altopiano del Sarcidano ("plateaurnof Sarcidano") in the comune of Laconi in the Oristano province ofrnSardinia, Italy. They are one of the fifteen indigenous horse "breeds ofrnlimited distribution" recognised by the AIA, the Italian breeders'rnassociation. Although they should never exceed 148 cm (14.2 hands) at thernwithers, they are officially considered a cavallo or horse, and not a pony.rnrn 

rnrnNo use of the Sarcidano horse is documented. In 2001 thernpossibility of starting a few horses for use in trekking were considered.rnrn 

rnrnSarcidano horses appear to have ancient Spanish ancestry inrncommon with the Andalusian horse. Studies by Valiati (1997) and by Bell (1999)rnof transferrins are reported to confirm common ancestry with the Iberian horsernof 25000 years ago. A 1996 study of protease inhibitor polymorphism concludesrnthat "a genetic correlation could be present between Sarcidano Horses andrnancient Spanish horses as reported by historical documents about horse breedingrnin Sardinia". The "constant" presence of the seventh molar inrnthe upper jaw is cited as evidence of ancient origin by Baccino, who notes thatrnthis characteristic is shared by only a few ancient breeds such as the ExmoorrnPony and the Caspian horse; Baccino also notes the presence in the Sarcidanornhorse of an allele otherwise seen only in Przewalski's Horse.rnrn 

rnrnIn 1999 a group of 15 Sarcidano horses was acquired by therncomune of Laconi from a private owner; this herd lives in the state-ownedrnforest of Funtanamela, on the Sarcidano plateau, and in 2006 numberedrnapproximately 100 horses. A second herd, privately owned, also lives in thernsame area, while a third group is held by the Istituto di Incremento Ippicorndella Sardegna (Sardinian horse-breeding institution) of Ozieri, at ForestarnBurgos in central northern Sardinia. In 2007, the total Sarcidano horsernpopulation was approximately 190, of which 78 were mares.rnrn 

rnrnThe Sarcidano horse was recognised as a breed by MinisterialrnDecree No. 24347, dated 5 November 2003; the breed register was established inrn2005, and is held by the Associazione Provinciale Allevatori (regional breeders'rnassociation) of Nuoro.rnrn 

rnrnAccording to the breed standard, a Sarcidano Horse may bernblack, bay, or grey; other coat colours are excluded from registration. Thernheight range for males is 125–145 cm (12.1–14.1 hands), the girth 140–160 cmrn(55–63 in) and the cannon circumference 14–17 cm (5.5–6.7 in); for females thernheight measures 115–135 cm (11.1–13.1 hands), the girth 120–150 cm (47–59 in)rnand the cannon 13–16 cm (5.1–6.3 in). Horses over 148 cm (14.2 hands) at 30rnmonths may not be registered.rnrn 

rnrnTheir head is rather heavy and roughly set on, their profilernis straight, their ears are mobile and their eyes and nostrils large. Theirrnneck is muscular and their mane is thick. Their shoulders are fairly straight,rntheir withers high and their croup isshort but muscular. Their legs are short,rnstrong and reasonably well conformed, their joints are broad, and their hoovesrnare strong but tend to be cylindrical. Their action is lively and sure-footed.rnrn 

rnrnSarcidano Horses have a lively and responsive nature, andrnadapts well to equestrian uses. They are frugal and resistant.

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