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Pantesco donkey

or "of Pantelleria"

Breed characteristics

The Pantesco donkey is one of the 8 Italian donkey breeds that fall within the disciplinary of the "register of limited circulation equine and donkey breeds" and is regulated by the Italian Breeders Association, it is a relic breed , that is, it has less than 100 leaders. (in 2018 we have 77 head)

This donkey differs from all other Italian donkey breeds thanks to its slender and slender build, with fine and robust limbs and hooves that allows it to walk very fast.

The Pantesco is in fact the only donkey in the world to have the amble as a natural gait, a walking and jumping gait as comfortable as the step but as fast as the trot, which moves by lateral bipeds.

The height at the withers varies from 124 to 140 cm, the head is small and expressive, the hair is short and smooth, bay colored.

The Pantesco donkey to Asino Felice

In association you can find a 15-year-old stallion donkey registered in the registry of Pantesco donkeys that was recovered from a difficult situation in 2016 in Piedmont.

Horus at his meeting place lived at night tied to a chain and fed on bread (very harmful to his health), while during the day he was dragged, always with the chain around his neck, with a tractor to reach the grazing areas.

He immediately showed himself very frightened by man, to the point of stressing himself only by human contact, then over the months, with the psychological rehabilitation carried out by our technicians, he showed himself to be a very sweet and sensitive donkey, with enormous potential.

Due to the incorrect feeding of bread and grass his hooves were broken and crooked and it took a whole year to straighten and strengthen them.

Now Horus is healthy and happy with his pack mates and thanks to re-education and ethological training, he travels all over Italy for amble demonstrations to re-evaluate the breed and displays of sweet taming .

We remind you that in our association the recreational, sports and training activities are carried out with the school donkeys and not with Horus since the management of a stallion donkey is reserved for expert technicians.

Asino Felice Trekking con gli asinistallone Lisa Mabilia piemonte canavese pantesco pantelleria horus

In photo Horus Pantesco stallion

Asino Felice Trekking con gli asinistallone Lisa Mabilia piemonte canavese pantesco pantelleria horus
Asino Felice Trekking con gli asinistallone Lisa Mabilia piemonte canavese pantesco pantelleria horus
The history of the breed

Ancient donkey originally from the island of Pantelleria (already known in the 1st century BC), it was very important for the local economy and renowned to the point of being sought after by foreign breeders, merchants, circus owners and mule producers. The origin of the breed is due to crosses between subjects of African race and Sicilian subjects from the Ragusa area. Great walker, in addition to the safety of the step on all terrains, he was able to maintain high averages.

There were times when track speed races were organized on the island that recorded records of 25 km per hour on a flat course of a few kilometers. Extraordinary ambassador, in ordinary work he could sustain the pace of 15 km per hour at light shooting for a few hours and many used him as a comfortable and fast mount on all terrains, so much so that he was much preferred to the horse, especially by peasants. that, thanks to the ambit, they could ride the ancient rider without losing their balance.

The last purebred Pantesco stallion was called "Arlecchino" and drowned in 1985 in the heart of the port of Pantelleria during a transport to the island to fertilize the last remaining mare. The breed was in danger of disappearing .

So in 1989 the State Forestry Company of the Sicilian Region decided to start an ambitious pilot project for the recovery of the Pantelleria donkey breed in collaboration with the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Sicily and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Milan.

The ideal place for the activity of the Pilot Company was identified in the Forestry Property of San Matteo in Erice, which would have had to implement what, at the time, appeared to most a utopian undertaking: to reconstitute a nucleus of Pantelleria donkeys with the characteristics morphological and genetic characteristics typical of the 'race'.

Thanks to the intervention of Dr. Cavarretta, director of the San Matteo state property in Erice (Trapani), of Prof. Balbo, Prof. Rognoni and Dr. Nogara of the State Forests of Palermo, 200 specimens were examined for the research of Required requirements, this exhausting work that led the researchers to find the first specimens, 95% Farfarello of Pantelleria breed, 85% Maple, 80% Argo. Finally, the mares Adele, Acacia, Agata and the exceptional Gina, a donkey with a very rare sorcine coat from Pantelleria were chosen. Soon the first little foals were born with the characteristics of the original breed.

Few would have imagined that, after less than twenty years from 1989, the "breed standard" and the coveted and coveted registration in 2006 in the "Register of Equine Breeds / Populations attributable to local ethnic groups would be obtained for the Pantelleria donkey. " .

In 2007 at the fair in Verona, the annual event dedicated to the equine world that gathers thousands of visitors from all over the world, it was a triumph for two Panteschi adult specimens and two foals, one of which was just a month old.

Blitz in 2008, after some complaints for alleged ill-treatment, a control was planned by the nucleus of the forestry police in the Demanio Foreste on the slopes of Mount Erice and from the first light of the morning they found that the donkeys in San Matteo would have been abused : about 70 animals, many had wounds and very long nails, 23 of which were in poor health conditions due to inadequate nutrition, expired medicines and doping materials were also found. LAV announced that it would be a civil party if the affair would come to court.

A few months earlier Nando, a male specimen from Pantelleria, left for Liguria and was entrusted to the regional state-owned forest company at the Cinque Terre National Park, for the start of a project that would have used them for the separate collection of waste by means of of donkeys, in emulation of the already strongly criticized example of Castelbuono (PA).

LAV Sicily, already in the case of the donkeys used to collect garbage in Castelbuono, had warned about the danger of these projects and the danger of animal abuse. In the case of Castelbuono, in fact, after the start of the garbage collection project, 3 of the 9 Ragusani donkeys employed died almost simultaneously from inadequate nutrition.

After 10 years, the Pantesco donkey, now stopped at about seventy heads, is back in circulation thanks to the Asino Felice SIFE Italian School for Equine Training ASD APS association which is concerned with revaluing this precious breed thanks to the participation in donkey fairs and events. Pantesco stallion Horus, skilled ambassador saved from a difficult situation.


-R. Baroncini (1987) "The donkey the mule the bardotto"

-LIVESICILIA 11/16/2008 by Ignazio Marchese

-Animals and environment, online newspaper

Asino Felice Trekking con gli asinistallone Lisa Mabilia piemonte canavese pantesco pantelleria horus

Above: postcard with Sicilian peasant woman riding in "ancient amazon" mode on a Pantesco donkey.

Below: "ancient amazzone" mount on the donkey, the Pantesco Horus stallion in Sicilian peasant clothes.

Asino Felice Trekking con gli asinistallone Lisa Mabilia piemonte canavese pantesco pantelleria horus
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