The Sanfratellano Horse

The Sanfratellano Horse is a breed of Sicilian horses that has evolved over many centuries to become a versatile workhorse and meat horse. The Sanfratellano Horse breed has been around since ancient times and has a long history of human use. The Arab breed was popular with the Norman nobility and the Saracens in Sicily until the eleventh century. This breed was renowned for its strength and ability to carry fully armored knights. In the mountainous Mediterranean region, battle horses were often more important than speed. This breed was also used by the Normans in Italy and the Moors in Spain in the early Middle Ages.


The Sanfratellano Horse has a rich history dating back to the eleventh century. It originated when Adelaide del Vasto married a Norman nobleman of Sicily. She brought with her a group of warriors, horses, and advisers. The San Fratellano horse is a descendant of the Lombard breed of war horses. The breed was bred to produce strong, hardy horses that could carry the weight of fully armored knights. Its strength and speed made it perfect for battle.

The Sanfratellano horse is an Italian breed of horse that is associated with the northern slopes of the Nebrodi Mountains. The area is lush and offers the perfect terrain for grazing. These horses are not wild, but are domesticated and raised by farmers in the Nebrodi Mountains. These horses are often found in Sicily’s Natural Park, where they are the subject of research and studies.

The Sanfratellano horse is a beautiful, athletic, and adaptable Italian breed. Born in the town of San Fratello, Sicily, they are magnificent and proud animals. They have dominated the Nebrodi mountains for centuries. In ancient times, the Sanfratellano horse was derived from other Sicilian horses. The Greeks and Romans mentioned Sicilian horses, and their descendants were known as the Sanfratellano.

In addition to the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano, the Sanfratellano Horse was influenced by Arabian stallions. Maremmano horses, the ancient breed of Arabian, are a major source of genomic diversity. However, the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano horse is a mesomorphic species that was bred in Sicily. The Sanfratellano has a strong endurance character.

Morphological and functional features

A 1991 survey was conducted by the Associazione provinciale allevatori di Messina in the breeding area of Sanfratellano horses. The study covered 3.852 Sanfratellano horses registered in Messina. Because of their morphological features, the Sanfratellano Horse should be given more significance. However, its future is still uncertain, given the environmental challenges it faces.

To assess the diversity of the Sanfratellano Horse, the genetic diversity was studied. A distance matrix of 384 Sanfratellano horses was generated. The distances between populations were calculated using Principal Coordinates Analysis. The distance matrix revealed differences between populations with similarity scores of about 80%. This suggests that the Sanfratellano Horse is a highly genetically diverse breed.

The Sanfratellano Horse is a mesomorphic breed, widely distributed in Sicily and Purosangue Orientale Siciliano. It has a conformation that adapts to the saddle, a docile character, and disease resistance. Its genes are prone to being influenced by a variety of other breeds, including Thoroughbreds and Arabians.

The study also examined phenotypic traits, such as leg length and weight. It also evaluated the effect of sex and age on carcass traits, as well as body condition score. This is the first study to examine the genetic makeup of Sanfratellano horses, and it aims to answer several questions related to how these breeds compare with one another. If this study helps in advancing our understanding of the evolution of the Sanfratellano Horse, it will be a major step in assessing the diversity of this breed.

Genetic diversity

In this study, genetic variation among 20 Sanfratellano horses and two other Sicilian breeds (the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano and the Sicilian Indigenous Horse) was assessed using a mitochondrial D-loop hypervariable region. Molecular data from these breeds showed that there is a considerable amount of matrilineal genetic variation within the Sanfratellano Horse, which is a member of the Saanaeae family. Using this method, we identified 20 haplotypes, which we compared to 118 sequences from the GenBank database.

In addition, we identified six ROH islands in this population of horses. Each island is comprised of at least two ROHs. Our analyses revealed that these ROH islands were present in the same chromosomes, including ECA4, ECA17 and ECA10.

Our study also revealed that the Sanfratellano shared haplotypes with the Sicilian Indigenous and the Sicilian Oriental Purebred. While the two breeds are not directly related, the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano is a significant source of genomic diversity. This horse has been raised in Sicily and last used as a breeding animal in 2016. The Purosangue Orientale Siciliano embodies the physical traits of Egyptian and Arab horses. These traits make it suitable for saddle work, running, and endurance over long distances.

Moreover, these two populations are geographically separated. The population of Sanfratellano Horse in Sicily comprises about 1496 individuals, while the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano has about 200 horses. However, the size of the two populations does not explain the relative importance of different genetic types in the Sicilian equine framework. These two populations, however, have distinct characteristics and genetic variations.

Relationship with other Sicilian horse breeds

The Sicilian horse, or Sanfratellano, developed during the 19th century from local stallions. A recent introduction of the Maremmano breed further modified this native breed. This study aimed to determine the impact of Maremmano on the Sanfratellano by using microsatellites to assess genetic relationships. The study involved three populations of Sicilian horses: the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano, the Maremmano, and the Arab.

Genetic analysis of three Sicilian horse breeds revealed that SIC, SOP, and SAN horses are closely related. Genetic diversity is higher among the SIC and SAN breeds than the other breeds, but the genetic distances and cluster analysis showed a close relationship between these three groups. The hypervariable mitochondrial DNA region of a subset of 60 mares (20 of each breed) provided information about their ancestry and their relationships with other Sicilian horse breeds.

In the study, 118 sequences from GenBank were used to compare genetic markers among the three breeds. Overall, all breeds displayed high gene diversity, but their genetic differentiation index was low. The breeds shared 6% genetic diversity. Nei’s standards and Reynolds’ genetic distances replicated the same population ranking. A mesomorphic breed exhibited traits of adaptability to poor feed and conditions.

Sicels originated in Liguria. They arrived from mainland Italy around 1200 BC and migrated eastward. Several other Sicilian horse breeds were also brought from the mainland, including Ausones and Morgetes. This reflects the strong cultural and geographical relationships between Sicily and its other neighboring countries. Relations with other Sicilian horse breeds

Conservation status

The Sanfratellano horse is an Italian breed that originated in San Fratello, Sicily. They are used for light draft work, riding, and packing. Their native habitat has limited human interference and has allowed the Sanfratellano to develop into a powerful and hardy type. The Sanfratellano is rare, and the government of Sicily has taken an active role in preserving this breed.

Although they have not been bred in recent centuries, the Sanfratellano has a long history as a working horse and meat horse. The Arab breed was preferred by the Norman nobility during the Middle Ages. The Saracens in Sicily used it until the eleventh century. It was strong enough to carry fully armored knights. The mountainous Mediterranean terrain made battle horses essential, and the Sanfratellano possessed the strength to perform the task.

Genetic and molecular data from 61 Sanfratellano horses as well as two other Sicilian horse breeds was collected for analysis. Analysis of mitochondrial D-loop hypervariable region revealed that there are several genetic subtypes, and there were 20 haplotypes. The haplotypes were compared to 118 sequences from the GenBank database. These data provide essential information for a conservation plan.

Genetic studies of the Sanfratellano have revealed the existence of multiple populations of this breed. Genomic data of the Purosangue Orientale Siciliano and Sanfratellano are also collected. The results of the studies indicate that the populations have low numbers and may be endangered. However, these studies are based on small numbers of animals and limited resources. In the future, more studies are needed to determine the genetic status of the Sanfratellano Horse.

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