Our "jewels" are our horses, all of our property, and now they are going to be introduced to you one by one. There aren’t photos of them for the moment but soon we will insert 2 each (head and entire body). They have been trained for long mountain rides. They have got morphological characteristics suitable to their task. Their barycentre is quite low, no taller than m1.55 at the withers, strong and sturdy, with a steady pace and used to cross the difficult passages of Madonie mountains. Paolo & Franco trained them using the method of the "SIX KEYS of HARMONY" by Ed Dabney ( you can learn more in the special section dedicated to Ed Dabney).
Photos of all our horses will follow soon
All our horses can be touched in any part of their body without to have any reaction. They do not kick or bite. They never rear up or run away. They give their feet without problems. They do not invade the space around humans (excluding ALBA sometimes: read why). They put down their head to be bridled. They do not move when mounting or saddling. They are used to mounting blocks, logs or rocks to be mounted. They are used to a loose rein and so hands must be light. If leaded on the ground they need at least 1 meter of free rope and they will not "climb on your feet". They are trained to do backing from ground and saddle, to disengage the hindquarters, to turn on the spot from the hind or from the shoulder. They are trained to have the responsability of the gate, so "no bicycling" to remain at trot. They had a wide despooking about what can be met during our trips. So they are not afraid of water, barking dogs, sheeps, cows, wild bores, deers, 4x4, trucks, cars, cklacsons, plastic bags. Some of them can swim in the sea (we will teach all of them to do this sowly slowly). They live on a very specific diet during the work season of hey and 4 mixed cereals. They live always in herd outside. We change pastures in winter and summer to give them a suitable temperature outside but they never see a box. They live as much as possible like horses. They have plenty of scares on their skin from their normal bites and kicks to establish hierarchies and leadership inside the herd. We do not use to put on them any halter when free in the pastores or paddocks. We use always and only a special rope halter to get them, train them, lead them, ride them (under the bridle as spare tool and to tie them ). We use with them ONLY a very simple, sturdy, leather bridle with ONLY snaffle bit anti toungue pitching, no nose bands, no chains, no martingales or any other equitation gadget. We use trekking saddles disegned by us and build in Sicily (go to Saddles and tacks) . We do not use and we do not allow any kind of spurs.
Here our almost complete Four Legs STAFF:
NUVOLA (Cloud). DOG. 2 years. White cream by coat. Mixed blood. Male. Tall.
NUVOLA is our DOG. He is integrally part of our STAFF. NUVOLA comes with us in all our trips doing his 250 km and a lot more each time. he knows all the trails and it is able to move freely in all madonie and along the TranSiciliana to Etna main trail. He is a lovelly dog that barks only in case of danger and to scare away cows and sheep from the trails when we met them. He do not beg for food and wait at picnic lunch that we give them his food (happy to eat at end eventual leftovers from riders). He loves caresses and scrub from anybody. During the trips he is alwasy on the move, going up and down the string of horses, exploring and sniffing in the woods, disappearing to come back after a while. It is very educated, polite and do not goes inside any home or country house if not under our specific requests. He is always well behaving with other dogs, cats and human beings. Try always to catch wild bores or deers, without success. Off working season he can't stay still and so sometimes disappear for days to go to visit some girlfriends he has scattered in the Madonie but then he is always back with his tail always moving back and forth and his so sweet eyes: we love him.
MULAN. 8 years . Grey by coat. Poland Arabian. Gelded.
Was bought by Franco 2 years ago when was a pretty live and "not good for the saddle" horse. His owner sold him because had too many troubles to ride. Franco loved Mulan at first sight for his very expressive and beautiful head. Before to buy he tested him teaching the first of the "SIX KEYS of HARMONY" and saw that he learned in 5 minutes without any problem and was then very educated and prompt to follow orders. He bought him immediatelly.Then Mulan was gelded and started his training with the "SIX KEYS of HARMONY" and then with saddle using the BOSAL instead snaffle bit. In 2 months of work MULAN became a very good trekking horse and now, after two seasons of experience on the trail, he is one of our top horses. In 2013 he was the horse that participated in all our trips demostrating top endurance and fitness.
Mulan has a very strong caracther and in our herd is always the first to eat and drink. He was in competition with Achille, when he came into the herd, for the leadership of the herd. Now, after many arguments and fighting, they arrived at an agreement: Achille lead the herd excluding Mulan that remain the very first to drink and eat. Mulan is not interested almost at all in females instead Achille likes to have a she partner close by. So he choosed Francesca and for Mulan this is OK until he can remain the "food & drink" boss. With customers, at beginning Mulan "play tired" but it is always a fake to try to go slowwer at the walk he likes. So need to push him at the very beginning of trip or fo the day to affirm the leadership of the rider about speed.
ACHILLE. 10 years old. Grey by coat. Sicilian indigenous.Gelded. Medium/tall
Achille was the last new horse we bought. After a total retraining he resulted really a top horse: very strong, endured, fast when need, very very light at the reins and rope halter. The old owner could not recogninize his behaviours when saw Achille under saddle after 2 months with us. For his strong caracter before he was very sturdy and hard to controll, now is a jewel. Still has to make more experience in nature and complete 100% despooking. He is a guide horse used by Paolo or Franco. He became leader of the herd not because he was the most mean or strong horse of our herd but because other horses recogninized his leadership in the interest of the well beeing of the entire herd. He really surprised us when arrived in the herd because the very first act was to defend DAGO, a very timid horse taht is not with us anymore, easy to be scared away by other horses to stole his food. ACHILLE as soon as saw the situations decided to eat always close by DAGO and when another horse was trying to scare DAGO away, ACHILLE immediatelly run to the invasor with open mouth sending him away. If DAGO was already scared away far from his food, ACHILLE was always going to him pushing him back to the food spot with his head , like saying him: "Dago, don't worry, now all is ok, go back to eat". All other horses liked his will to mantein order in the herd and choosed him (instead then Mulan) as herd's leader.
TOTUCCIO. 10 years. Brown by coat. Sicilian Indigenous.Gelded.tall
We have TOTUCCIOby 3 years. He is a very reilable horse with a very precise foot placement in difficult passages. Higher at the whiters then the other horses we use him when we have some tall clients. Like Mulan and Ciccio is a "professional eater": very fast to "clean the dish", likes all is eatable, very quick and precise when want to grab something to eat when is walking. At beginning of a ride is important to do not let him eat to affirm the leadership of the rider.
CICCIO. 8 years. Paint by coat. Sicilian indigenous and paint. Gelded. Short.
CICCIO is a small horse but with a lot of stamina. He is never tired and like to run when need. It is not a beautiful horse with his noose a bit concave coming probably by some sanfratellano horse inside him, but under saddle it is simply wonderful. He loves humans and their caresses and scrabs. It is another professional eater and so need to controll him at beginnng of the day of riding. He is not yet used to the noose food bag to eat cereals and so we prefer to give him on the ground unless he make a mess. Ciccio cannot stay alone. he really likes to have always a companion with him and in the herd he choosed ALBA as his buddy. They always eat together or stay close when are in the pasture.
ALBANESE (ALBA).5 years. Light brwon by coat. Sicilian indigenous. Gelded.Medium.
ALBA is the adolescent of our herd. As a kid, in the pasture or in the paddocks he is always "with the head in the clouds", not taking attention for hieracheys, precedences, age, experience of other horses older then him. So he is often kicked of bitten by other older horses because he is often "breaking balls" to them. Under saddle it is wonderful. Pretty small and agile, ALBA is easilly managed by any rider. Need only at beginning of the day remember him always the leadershio of the rider to behave well all day long. It is not adapt for beginners because he understand immediatelly "who has on the back" and can easilly take the leadership if the rider is unexperienced. He is very attached tu human beings and loves to have them around. Sometimes, just because is a kid, is a bit invasive of the space of the rider, in case so need to remember him to respect the rider space just with some proper backing.
WINDSOR (ex Arafat). 8 years. Black/dark brown. English Thoroughbred. Gelded.Medium Tall
WINDSOR was renamed by us to have maximum respect of our US riders.He was a very good galloper till 5 years old. At end of hissport carer became a dressage and trail ride horse. With us from the beginning of 2013, he is now also a very good trekking horse. He is the most advanced of our horses in the arena, able to design at canter perfect circles, doing perfect changements of gallops. On the trails he had to learn a lot about nature and rocks and now is very use to all difficulties of trekking. He had not forgot that he was a galloper and at canter and gallop is a pleasure to ride for softess and speed. WINDSOR need only to be a little bit more sure of himslef when met very "new things" for the first time.
KING. 9 years. Black by coat. English Thoroughbred. Gelded. Medium Tall
Has the same history of WINDSOR as ex galloper and then arena and now trekking horse. They arrived to us together and KING became an even better trekking horse for his absolute perfect adaptation at any situation and terrain..he is always very calm and not scarred. he has a lot of stamina and at beginnign o the day is important to remember him leadership of the rider. It is very lovelly and loves the humans. When we come inside the pasture and paddocks he is with the first to come to us to be caressed and rubbed. he is very jelous of his food, so if he is eating it is better to left him alone expecially never going behind him because he had the habit to kick horses (or humans) that were coming from behind when he was eating. We teached him not to do it but may be he can go back to his old habiut so it is better to eliminate any temptation.
STELLA. 8 years. Paint by coat. Sicilian indigenous and paint. Mare. Madium Tall.
She is very sweet, calm, quite, very balanced. She is not to go fast at gallop but she has a wonderful canter and trot. She is a pretty big lady but agile and prompt. STELLA is also one of the most beautiful of our horses with a perfect head and coat. Our idea was to have only gelded horses but we had the opportunity to by STELLA and we could not resist at her beauty and capacity under saddle, so now is part of our herd and we renounced to have only gelded horses.
FRANCESCA. 6 years. Paint by coat. Sicilian indigenous and paint. Mare.small.
She fall in love with Achile and they stay all the time together forming a very nice couple. FRANCESCA has a very fast walk and is never tired. last year had a baby and now is back on the trail. She is a perfect horse for a lady that is no more then 60 kg. She is very beautiful with her coat and slim body.
FURIA. 5 years. Dark Grey by coat. Sicilian Indigenous.Gelded. Medium tall.
It is a young horse but with a good basic training. We are going to train with SIX KEYS of HARMONY during 2014 winter to have him ready for the trips. He has a very good caracther, peacefull with other horses and a lot of stamina by the lots of arabian (or oriental) blood he has.
PRINCIPE. 6 years. Brown by coat. Sicilian Indigenous.Medium.
For all his life was a stallion left in the mountains to cover mares. Now is under training to be a very good and strong trekking horse. Not used to man and other male horses, at beginning had some troubles but now is a very good horse for his job.
MISTER BEAN. 6 years. Brown by coat. Sicilian Indigenous.Medium.
Exactly same history of PRINCIPE but MISTER BEAN has a lot stronger caracter then PRINCIPE. When in the herd he became absolute leader even with ZEUS and MULAN. We are going to introduce him into the herd in a couple of weeks and we are curious to see how ACHILLE will react and his coming. It is a very strong and fast horse.
ZEUS.8 years. white by coat. Quarter Horse. Gelded. Medium.
ZEUS is a very good horse under saddle. He has only a problem: want to be the BOSS even after is not anymore a stallion. So in the herd make some troubles expecially with MULAN. We have to decide if to chenge him for this reason or to see if with some more time will became more quite with other horses.
ROYAL 8 year. Brown by coat. Arabian egyptian. Stallion. Tall
We do not use ROYAL in our trips. He is a very top arabian stallion and we use him only for reproduction. He is our true love because was so unfortunate in his life before to met Paolo. If you want to know his incredible story and how PAOLO SAVED HIM FROM THE BUTCHERY, click on : History of ROYAL, the almost lost stallion.