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By Smith Northam

Last updated: 3rd June 2021

Salerno Horse


Smith Northam
Last updated: 3rd June 2021

The Salerno Horse is a rare breed of horses that are still used for riding, and have been very popular in leisure and equestrian sport. As a first-class riding horse, they have also been used as a cavalry mount, mounted athletics since they make superb sports horses. With a diverse set of abilities, the Salernos are sagacious and compliant horses, and are reputed to have a good disposition, accommodating the different needs of horse owners.

Once a favorite of the Italian army, showing aristocratic ancestry, these horses are now on the decline. In modern times, they are used in the mounted formations of the police forces. In addition, they are celebrated for their above-average jumping ability.

Salerno Horse Pictures

Quick Information

Other Names Salernitano
Temperamental Characteristics Loyal, obedient, intelligent, easy to train, docile, gentle
Physical Descriptions As a result of crossbreeding Andulasians with Neapolitans, their head is well-set and light, with a clear Spanish influence, along with a medium long, strapping, strong and muscular neck, and burly quarters; croups are brawny and rounded; withers are prominent and short; The back is usually short, but strong and well-proportioned. Salernos have muscular quarters; muscular, long & sloped shoulders, Chest is deep and wide; legs have strong joints and are sturdy but slender with good-structured hooves
Colors Most common colors are black, bay, and chestnut
Common Uses Jumping, racing, work, polo, general riding, including Olympic events
Lifespan/Expectancy Long-lived
Weight 450 – 500 kg
Length For males, the minimum height is 1.50 m, while, for the females, it is 1.45 m
Height (size) While the males are around 158 cm, the females stand at almost 150 cm at 42 months of age. Average height is 16 hands
Health Problems Generally healthy, no known breed-specific diseases
Gaited Yes
Movements Furnished walk; active, elegant trots accompanied by long strides
Blood Type Warm-blooded
Draft Horse Yes
Ancestors Andalusian; Neapolitan; Lipizzaner; Arabian; Thoroughbred horses
Popular Traits Sensible & docile, willing to work, strong and hardy, multi-talented, easily maintainable, mild by temperament
Feeding/Diet General horse diets, consisting of hay, grass, grains, vegetables, etc.
Country of Origin Italy
Year/Time of Development 1780
Registries ‘Associação de Cavalo Pampa’ (Association of the Pampa Horse)
Breed Information Pedigree Info

Video: Salerno Horses

History and Development

Initially, the Salerno horses were promoted by the King of Naples and Spain, King Charles III. The Salernos originated from the plains of Eboli, Battipaglia and Paestum, in the province of Salerno (Campania) region in Italy. Until 1780, these horses had no fixed system for breeding. During this time, the breeders would pick and choose horses to selectively breed at the ‘Persano Stud’. However, the blood of the Neopolitan, Spanish, and Oriental (Arabian) breeds laid the main foundation of the base stock of these horses. In this stud, three stallions belonging to the Lipizzan breed were predominantly used on the Salerno horse, and they are considered to be the foundation sires of the Saleranos. However, in 1864, the Persano Stud was closed, and a large number of these equines were then shifted to the Italian Army Remount Station in Grosseto, where they can be found till date.

The Saleranos began to get famous for their strength, and thus were held in high regard. Unfortunately, this reputation didn’t last for long, and the count of these horses began to plummet with the mechanization at the beginning of the 20th century. The ancient salreno is a breed of saddle horses, which was improved during the period of Spanish domination. It is during this time that they were crossed with the Andalusian and the Oriental breeds. Later, the stock was also used for improving the Russian breeding stock.

In the latter half of the 19th century, these horses were also crossed with purebred English horses, after which, they got a change in their appearance, and were used by the army and military forces.

In the 20th century, the Thoroughbred and the Hackney bloods were introduced which helped in increasing the size of the new horse breed, as also made them a refined worker breed. A new stud named the ‘Morese Stud’ was also built in the 20th century, which is located near the original ‘Persano Stud’.

Interesting Facts

  • In the ‘Persano Stud’, the three Lipizzan stallions that were considered to be the foundation sires, particularly influencing the development of the Saleranos were Pluto, Conversano, and Napoletano.
  • In the past, the salerano horses were also chosen to help develop Italian cross-breeds like the Posillipo, Merano and Fiorello horses. These breeds later proved their abilities by winning at the Olympics between the years 1956 and 1972.
  • Merano and Posillipo are the two of the most famous Salernitano horses that were both ridden by Raimondo d’Inzeo. In 1956, Raimondo rode Merano at the World Showjumping Championships, and lead his team to victory. The other horse Posillipo helped Raimondo win gold at the Summer Olympics of 1960.

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