The Tolfetan horse is one of the beautiful surprises that our Italy gives us when we talk about horses and we go to look very carefully, from region to region, if there are equine breeds that are not too widespread but at the same time deeply rooted in the territory, in the culture and habits of a people. This horse we are about to discover and get to know is not one of the best known and most widespread but has extraordinary characteristics, a beautiful origin and aptitudes that make it easily re-usable even today when horses are no longer in the fields and in the world of transport. particularly useful, with the necessary exceptions.
Tolfetano horse: origins
Those who know the geography of central Italy well may have already guessed from its name that this breed comes from Tolfa Mountains, an area that was originally under the dominion of the Etruscan people and that today we can place between Rome and Viterbo, in Lazio. We mentioned the Etruscans not for nothing but because the first evidence of this horse dates back to the time when this people lived in Italy.
In those years, the Tolfetan horse was an animal employed for manage livestock that was raised, a job that today no longer carries out but, as we will see, it is not a useless horse, it has found its relocation.
Characteristics of the Tolfetano Horse: height and weight
Horse with admirable resistance, equipped with hard hooves to tackle even the most inaccessible terrain, our Tolfetan has a body able to adapt to even unfavorable climates, those with cold temperatures in winter and perhaps a scorching summer heat. It is a rustic, frugal animal, with a robust physical structure and of medium size, it could be defined. Its height at the withers can vary between 150 and 147 centimeters, depending on whether it is a boy or a girl.
If we also want other measures to understand what kind of horse we are talking about, we have an estimate of the minimum chest circumference (Males: 170 cm, Females: 160 cm) and of the shin circumference (Males: 20 cm, Females: 19 cm). As you can see, the females are slightly shorter and less robust but nothing too obvious. Let's now describe our horse which has a body collected, solid and robust and a sheepskin profile on a head which is well proportioned to the rest of the body.
The ears have a medium size and are very straight, the eyes large, lively and intelligent, but also very sweet. The neck is well set but quite short, with a broad base and covered with a thick fluffy mane, it connects to the shoulder which is both short and slightly sloping. There rump is well developed, with a regular and slightly inclined conformation, the chest is not very wide and the chest not very deep but both fit harmoniously within the general physical structure.
The withers are well muscled and the loins are well set on and may show a slight depression just like the back. Let's move on to the limbs which are short but strong, very strong, with thick and long beards. It is enough to see him trotting to immediately notice that his joints are strong even when dry and allow him to exhibit energetic, supple and very agile gaits. The aplombs are regular and i small but very resistant feet. Let us not forget that the Tolfetano horse comes from a mountainous area and is therefore used to adapting to not very comfortable terrains and difficult paths.
As for the coat, it has a rather rustic consistency and can take on different colors such as for example bay, dark bay, sorrel and black. In general it is better that there are no white markings.
Tolfetan horse: character
We have well understood that we are facing a very rustic, robust and resistant animal, just like the Maremma horse with which he shares the areas of origin. It is also a great horse smart and lively, these two characteristics in history have helped him a lot because they have allowed him to become one of the most sought-after horses in the area as a company for excursions. He has always been and still is a hard worker, capable of working as a team with man.
Tolfetano horse: aptitudes
He has a physique that allows him to do everything, because he is robust and resistant. Its height, however, makes it a perfect workhorse for both pack and as companion of the cowboys of the Lazio Maremma in cattle management. Today we find it often used also forhorse farm and for country horse riding, and also for the production of meat on pastures refused by cattle.
Tolfetano horse: diseases and pathologies
More than diseases and pathologies, let's get to know the defects of the Tolfetan horse, those defects that the standard does not tolerate and which therefore lead toexclusion from the registry dedicated to the breed. The size must be very similar to the one we have indicated above, especially as regards the height at the withers. Pay attention also to the flounces that absolutely must not be extended above the fetlock, finally the cloak that can only be bay, black, gray or chestnut.
Tolfetano horses: breeding in Italy
In Italy there are of course some Tolfetano farms but we are also lucky enough to be able to tell about the association Knights and Breeders of the Tolfetano Horse of Cottanello. Founded in 2000 by the will of a group of friends who are passionate about country riding, horse breeding and traditions of Lazio, this reality has also formed a group of riders who perform in a re-enactment of the ancient butteri of the Lazio Region.
You may also be interested in the Bardigiano Horse