Sardinia and the Horses

The Horses

Horses are loved in Sardinia.  And Sardinians can be proud of their noble horses, which through courage, toughness, and intelligence excel in the equestrian world.  Specifically, the Sardinian Anglo-Arabian breed, also known as the “Sardo”  has been bred on Sardinia since the 16th century.  This breed has Arabian and Spanish blood lines and was cross-bred with wild Sardinian horses.  Measuring 15-16 hands high to the withers (approximately 160 cm), they are on the small side, but because of this, they are agile.  The Sardinian Anglo-Arabian is full of energy, yet good- natured. This horse has great endurance and is able to take long journeys across the back country of Sardinia.  On the other hand, this breed also excels at showing its distinctive abilities on the equestrian tournament circuit.

Horse fans and riding festivals

The love of horses is common in Sardinia.  The healthy, well-groomed animals are proof of this.  In addition, even non-riders love to attend riding festivals, which take place annually on the island, especially in the western towns and cities.

At the riding festival called Sa'Sargiglia, which takes place every year at Carnival, horses bedecked with flower garlands are led through the narrow alleys and streets of the towns.  The riders are dressed in traditional clothing, their faces hidden behind masks.  Enthusiastic throngs of people crowd along the sand-strewn streets of the old sections of Sardinian cities, waiting for the horses.  At a gallop, the horses storm by some with riders holding lances ready to pick up prizes along the way and others with Amazon women doing acrobatics on their backs.