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Siciliano Indigeno

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Siciliano Indigeno
Conservation status
Other names
  • Cavallo Siciliano
  • Sicilian
Country of originItaly

The Siciliano Indigeno or Cavallo Siciliano is an Italian breed of light riding horse native to the Mediterranean island of Sicily in southern Italy. It derives from cross-breeding of local mares with stallions of Oriental and North African type. In the twentieth century there was substantial intromission of Thoroughbred and Anglo-Arab blood, resulting in a marked increase in average height.[3]: 503 [4]: 147 

It was officially recognised as a breed in 2024.[5][6] It is one of three Sicilian horse breeds, the others being the Purosangue Orientale and the Sanfratellano.


The history of Sicily over the three millennia preceding the Unification of Italy in 1861 is one of repeated conquest and strife, with many different peoples and powers achieving total or partial dominance over the island for a time. These have included the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Muslim North Africans, Lombards, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, Spanish and Bourbons. It is likely that many of these invaders brought horses with them – from the Middle East, from North Africa, from the Iberian peninsula and from Northern Europe.[4]: 141  The Muslims who were present in the island from 827 to 1091 brought very large numbers of horses of Oriental type,[4]: 137  while the Lombards brought heavy war-horses.[4]: 141 


Height at the withers : Stallions: 155-160 cm Mares: 153-158 cm Chest Circumference Stallions: 178-185 cm Mares: 175-187 cm Cannon bone circumference 18-21 cm


It is one of the many breeds used by mounted regiments of the Carabinieri.[7]

The breeding association has declared that only horses born in Sicily will be considered for registration as “Siciliano Indigeno”. This policy virtually guarantees that the horse will not become of International or even national significance, as it will be impossible to breed outside of Sicily. This is perceived by the breed's admirers as an unfortunate decision, because the animals are considered beautiful and useful. [8]: 70 


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ Breed data sheet: Cavallo Siciliano / Italy (Horse). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed June 2024.
  3. ^ Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  4. ^ a b c d Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon (2008). Atlante delle razze autoctone: Bovini, equini, ovicaprini, suini allevati in Italia (in Italian). Milan: Edagricole. ISBN 9788850652594.
  5. ^ [s.n.] (14 March 2024). Cavallo Siciliano: un passo da gigante (in Italian). Bologna: CavalloMagazine. Accessed June 2024.
  6. ^ [s.n.] (30 March 2024). Cavallo Siciliano: un passo da gigante (in Italian). Newsletter: A cura dell'Ordine dei Veterinari di Mantova. Mantova: Ordine dei Veterinari di Mantova. Protocollo 164/24.
  7. ^ Non tutti sanno che... (in Italian). Arma dei Carabinieri. Accessed June 2024.
  8. ^ Gianni Ravazzi (2002). L'encyclopédie des chevaux de race (in French). Paris: De Vecchi. ISBN ISBN 2732825948 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: invalid character.