The Bardigiano horse is a breed of small horse that was developed in Italy, in the Emilia Romagna region. It is thought this breed is a descendant of the horses that Belgian Gauls rode during their invasions of Italy, the same horse that Haflinger horse is descended from. This breed has developed over time into a strong, agile breed that is able to traverse the rocky areas of its home. Between WWI and WWII, the breed was used to produce high quality mules, but this caused a decrease in the number of purebred individuals.

After the wars were over, many new bloodlines were introduced, causing the loss of the breed’s former confirmation. However, an organization was developed in 1972 to preserve the breed’s bloodline and confirmation. Today, it reaches a height of about 4.8 feet and horses that are shorter or taller cannot be registered as an official member of the breed. The breed standard only allows for bay individuals, with a preference for dark bay, but it can come in other colors including light bay and chestnut. Some white and rabicano markings are allowed on the legs and face. The body of this breed is small, but muscular and it is used for farm work and riding and driving competitions.

Image Caption: Bardigiano, italian horse race. Credit: de:Benutzer:BS Thurner Hof/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)