‘U Cavallu Corsu’ – a small riding horse, successfully bred on the island

U Cavallu Corsu Musique CorseIt would appear, that the exact origin of the breed is not really known. Certain publications have put forward the theory that the Corsican horse would be indigenous, and would have reached the island a million years ago, when it was attached to the mainland. Also said, it would be from the same origin as the Tunisian Barbe. However, according to experts from the University of Oklahoma, on the contrary, Corsica would never have had indigenous horses; the ancestors of this breed would have been brought by man himself.
The oldest traces of horses on the island date back perhaps to 6005 or 500 BC – according to Corsican associations. The Phoenicians settled in Corsica in 259 BC, but according to the University of Oklahoma, horses arrive later on, having been brought over time by the Vandals, Lombards, Saracens, Genoese, Pisans, and finally the French. Various sources attest to their military use since the days of Julius Caesar. A natural selection too, only the animals adapted to the land and climate survive  and give offspring. They are subject to cross-breeding, mainly with Arabs or Barbs (with invasions since the VIII century according to the Association U Cavallu Corsu) and perhaps even Iberian. The veterinarian Dr. Paul Dechambre described the Corsican horse as “a derivative of Aryan, modified by island and mountain environment – but, having kept mediolineal proportions, or becoming sub-bréviligne proportions,” so it is an Indo-European horse influenced by different cross-breeding.
Now, to get back to a few details. The Corsican horse (in Corsican: Cavallu Corsu or Paganacce) is a small riding horse. It belonged to the first mount of Napoleon Ist, and several travel chronicles praise the qualities of this small, and clever horse, harnessed and used for various tasks by the inhabitants of Corsica for centuries.                                              Musique Corse
The Corsican horse almost disappeared with the motorisation of transport and agriculture. At the end of the XIII century, a series of initiatives were
locally put into place, in order to preserve it. Then in 2012, the breed was officially recognised on a national level, thanks to U Cavallu Corsu, on the basis of eight stallions. The horse is small, shapely and square; with a short back. Colour is bay, black or black ‘pangaré’. It is suitable for recreational riding of all forms, with leisure riding being the main reason for its further breeding. It can also be mounted for polo, working in endurance and adapts very well to equestrian centres. By mid 2011, the race had 180 representatives. Last but not least, the Corsican horse is inseparable from the cultural identity of its’ native island.
Source: Musique Corse
Photo credit: Musique Corse ©
U Cavallu Corsu ©

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