The Bardigiano originated in Venetia, Italy in the mountainous region of Tuscany to the south. The first information on the origin of these horses dates back to 1864, with a historical source which speaks of a quite homogeneous horse kind, which was found in the area by the Apennine of the western Emilia up to the Lunigiana.
It is believed that this breed is derived from Norcum, a vassal province of the Roman Empire. In Norcum the ancient breed of horse was known as Abellinum to the Romans and is represented today by the Haflinger and its closely related neighbor the Avelignese. The Bardiagiano has a distinct connection with the Avelignese. There is also mention of the Bardiagiano being linked with the Asturcon ponies and the Exmoor ponies, as they are similar in appearance. Modern Bardigiano today are primarily in the highlands of the northern Appenines, which lie between Venetia and Tuscany.
During the First and Second World Wars, Bardigiano mares were widely used in the
production of first-class mules, and this actually had the effect of reducing
the numbers of pure-bred Bardigianos. A number of stallions from a diverse range
of breeds were introduced to the stock after 1945, but this is now considered to
have been a mistake. The breed began to deteriorate and lose some of its
defining characteristics. In 1972, a committee was formed to try and establish
the old breed and this was successfully done.
The Bardigiano has short and sufficiently muscled strong legs, with very pronounced joints. The tail is thick and well-set on itís round and heavy quarters. Itís body is built strongly, with a deep chest, allowing for large lungs. The shoulders are quite upright and short, but the withers are well defined. The head has small, neat ears and a broad forehead, with a real pony look. It is very sure footed, quick moving, hardy, and easy to keep.
It is a working mountain pony, and not very well known outside itís breeding
area. Often used to carry packs. Temperament: They have very good, quiet
temperaments, making them excellent for trekking, and as children's ponies. This pony breed is