Italy

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?

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