Giara Horse

The Giara is a rare breed of horse that originates from the island of Sardinia.

They are known for their intelligence, hardiness, and agility.

Due to their rarity, there is a lot of mystery surrounding these horses.

If you are interested in learning more about this unique breed, keep reading!

Giara Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Giara horse:

Height (size) 11.1 – 13.1 hands high
Colors Black, dark bay, or liver chestnut; white markings are rare
Country of Origin Italy
Common Uses Farming and riding

Giara Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Giara horse is native to the Giara plateau in central southern Sardinia and is assumed to have descended from Numidian (North African—possibly Barb) stock brought to the island by the Carthaginians before the Roman era.

However, there is some disagreement as to where the Giara horse originally came from and how it made its way to the plateau.

Nobody is certain of how long they have lived on the island; some claim they have lived on Sardinia since the Neolithic Age (10,000 – 4,500 BC), while others believe they were brought to the island by the Phoenicians (1500 – 300 BC).

However, the earliest examples of documented evidence are far more recent. In the year 1540, Sigismondo Arquer made the observation that Sardinia is home to “a large number of horses of which many are wild and without a master”.

The one thing is sure – the Giara horse has lived in the wild on the Giara plateau for as long as anybody can remember, only coming into town when its owners needed it for spring threshing.

Today, there’s no denying that the Giara horse is one of the most well-known indigenous animals of Sardinia.

Even though these horses are small, they are not regarded as ponies, but rather small horses.

Giara horse has evolved into a hardy animal as a result of its environment, which includes strong winds, wide temperature swings, and brief snowfalls.

Even though today the water is provided year round in drinking troughs, in the past it could only be found in natural springs called ‘is mitzas’ or in the shallow pools of water called ‘is paulis’; however those would dry up in the summer.

Up until the 15th century, this ancient small horse could be found all across the island, however, over time, the Giara’s horse population began to decline.

Today, the total population estimates vary from 100 – 700 depending on the source.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names




Physical Characteristics

The head is square-shaped with wide jaws, and thick forelock.

The neck is strong with thick, sometimes even double mane.

The chest lies close to the ground, and the back is somewhat sunken.

The croup is narrow and short, and the tail is set low and thick.

The legs are thin and cannon bones are long. The pasterns are long.

The feet are strong and healthy.


Black, dark bay, or liver chestnut; white markings are rare

Height (size)

11.1 – 13.1 hands high


12.5 – 13.1 hh


11.1-12.3 hh


375 – 485 lbs (170 – 220 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Farming and riding


Frequent limb conformation defects, most often due to rickets; generally affecting area around hocks

Popular Traits

Feral horse



Country of Origin



Berber horses, Arabian, Thoroughbred