About San Fratello Horses
dei Nebrodi, or San Fratello, horse is an Italian breed originating in Messina (Sicily).
The account of its
origins is of great historical and sociological interest. It was not a “padronal
breed”, raised by a noble or baronial family enjoying ascendancy during a certain
historical period, but rather a population of horses connected to the people and
history of a particular part of Sicily. Today, as 1000 years ago, the Sanfratellano
di Nebrodi horse lives free and well-protected in its “cradle of origin”, a Natural
Park extending for 87,00 hectares and containing 21 inhabited communes. The breed
is the subject of “studies and research”, undertaken, in particular, by the “Istituto
Sperimentale Zootechnico di Sicilia” ( Sicilian Experimental Zootechnical Institute)
in Palermo, in collaboration with various regional and national experts and institutions.
The origins of the
breed are uncertain: according to some it derives from oriental horses imported
by the Moors, while others believe it descends from Nordic horses which arrived
on the island with the Normans. In the past Spanish, Anglo-Arab and Salertine blood
has been introduced into the breed. More recently, it has been crossed with the
Hungarian Nonius horse, amongst others.
It is a horse for
riding and pulling light carriages. Nowadays, it is bred in Sicily in a semi-wild
state and used for leisure riding. It is strong and hardy.