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Horse Breeds
First Posted: Aug 3, 2009
Sep 18, 2010

Esperia Pony

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Country of Origin: Italy


The Esperia Ponies, "Cavallino of Esperia," were found in the south of Lazio, on the border with Campania, in the district of Monti Ausoni. Baron Ambrose Roselli, of Esperia, in 1840, began to try to improve the genetics of the local ponies. He used Salerno stock. The results were not the expected. The Salerno horses were not able to adapt to the inaccessible areas of the Aurunci forest. In 1882 the baron landed in the port of Gaeta (LT) and purchased 4 mares and one stallion from a Turkish merchant. It is said that he paid the sum of 245 ducats for the horses. These horses were fully integrated into the population and adapted well to the environment. The ponies were not valued because they were small. However, in time, they became appreciated for their excellent ability to resist the cold and heat, for their frugal nature, versatility and strong constitution.

In World War II, the Esperia pony risked extinction. Their numbers were drastically reduced because they were used to feed the local population. The ponies were also used to clear land mines and unexploded bombs.

The breed was recognized in 1962. Thirty years passed before a registry register was founded near the Apa of Frosinone. In 1993 a standard of the Esperia Pony Breed was adopted. Civil registers of Equine populations were established. The Farmers Association or Breeder's Association was established in 2002.

Physical Description

The Esperia Pony is an easy keeper but can be temperamental. With training and gentling they make excellent saddle ponies. In manual ippologia of 1901, Chiari described the pony of the Esperia Ciociaria as small, robust and lively. Esperia ponies are 12-14.1 hh at the withers. They are black or of solid, dark color with an abundant mane and tail. White stars and blazes are tolerated. The head is short and conical in shape, the neck is proportionate but not too muscular, the withers are pronounced. The back is solid and the rump is sloping. The limbs are strong and dry. Esperia Pony hooves are strong, pigmented and perpendicular. The ponies can survive in harsh environmental conditions.


Riding, hauling, driving, jumping, and competitions.

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Esperia Pony

Horse Breeds