The country of origin of the Giara horse is Italy. Its been developed on the island of Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The alternative name of the breed is in Italian Cavallo Della Giara.
The name itself is derived from the Sardinian term Giara Jara, which literally translated means plateau, tableland, so the Giara di Gesturi Sa Jara Manna has a meaning of a plateau horse. This breed is living at 500-600 meters above sea level and is one of the fifteen home-grown horse breeds that are of limited distribution.
It is not known for certain about the origins of the Giara horse, but some think that they are imported during the 4th or the 5th century BC into Sardinia by the ancient civilization of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians or by the Greeks.
They might be descended from the Barb horse, due to their oriental type of appearance and Asian characteristics. Some think that they are a unique subspecies, due to the Neolithic horse fossil that were dating back to 6000 BC, but others disprove these so-called speculations.
During the 1970s the Giara horse was considered to be an endangered breed and almost extinct, so the Sardinian horse breeding institution, Instituto di Incremento Ippico della Sardegna of Ozieri has formed a breeding center and tried to protect the breed.
The breed is recognized by the Italian breeders association, AIA. Today there are approximately 700 individuals alive, from whom most of them can be found in a restricted area of Southern Sardinia.
This region has steep cliff terrains and difficult locations that are hard to access, which largely helped the protection of the breed in the recent centuries. They can also been found, but in small numbers in the Regional Park of Monte Arci and the Regional Park of Capo Caccia, Alghero.
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