Horses’ Lost Paradise

Wild horses in Sardinia

The cuaddeddu, or Giara horse, ranks among the last wild horses in Europe. There are about five hundreds left, and they live in a plateau in Southern Sardinia called the Giara. These horses are quite mysterious: how they reached the middle of the Mediterranean area is not clear yet – probably they were brought in by Phoenicians more than 3,000 years ago. The cuaddeddu (the Sardinian term for “little horse”) is not a pony but a small size horse (just 120 cm at the withers on average), and it used to live in the whole Sardinia but it became extinct everywhere except in the Giara: a volcanic plateau (580 meters high, on average) surronded by cliffs and gorges, a sort of “island in the island” impossible to escape for these animals. That’s why the Giara became their lost paradise – or their invisible corral, if you prefer – a restricted habitat for these restless, rebel, freedom loving horses, sometimes used to teach horse-riding to kids, or during August’s rodeos in the surrondings.
Grazing is recently becoming short, and so does the water of the little lakes in the plateau: how long the little horses of the Giara will survive?