This website is dedicated to introducing this little known Italian breed into the UK equestrian world. We will be hosting demonstration days where you will be able to meet and learn more about this breed and what we do.

murgese horses


The description of this breed ‘screamed’ 2 questions.

Is everything we have read about this horse all true?

​If it is true, why aren’t they here in the UK already?

Clearly, the only way to find the answers was go to Italy.

That was not straightforward.  The world was in the middle of a pandemic and ‘leisure’ travel was virtually impossible.  It was almost 18 months from deciding to ‘go and look’ before we could actually do so.  We managed our first visit in November 2021.  We flew to Bari as a team of 4.  Fiona and myself and our 2 friends, Michael as driver and Rob Leese.  Rob is a horse trainer with a remarkable skill set and experience of many horse breeds

The only other person we would have liked to have taken with us would have been our farrier, John Kay.

group trulli
Michael, Rob, Fiona and Carl

From Bari we drove to Martina Franca – a town regarded as the ‘home’ of the Murgese (and some damn big donkeys! – but that’s another story). With the help and support of local Murgese enthusiasts we made our interest known and were invited to visit a number of breeding farms and training centres.

We were made welcome by everyone we met. Everything we had read about the horse was there for us to see.

The horses are extremely tough, being native of the scrubby, hilly and extremely stony grazing on the Murge.  (The Murge is a plateau around 400 metres above sea level and some 4,000 sq Km in size). 

murge landscape
The Murgese natural environment

For the most part, the mares and foals live outside all year foraging for food. (Although it has to be acknowledged that wolves can be a problem).  Handling and training of the foals start early to prepare them for later ridden and carriage work.

One particular impressive establishment, The Farm, Masseria Grottillo  (roughly translated as ‘The farm with caves) is owned by Pasquale Giampetruzzi and his son Michele.  Located close to Santeramo in Colle, the farm and its staff are dedicated to breed improvement with an emphasis on quality of both breeding and training.

main courtyard
The main courtyard at Masseria Grottillo

All of the farm’s breeding and youngstock display the best qualities the Murgese has to offer. The top Murgese breeders are passionate about maintaining the purebred line and go to great lengths to maintain as wide a genetic base as possible.  As Pasquale Giampetruzzi explains, “The Murgese knows its own mind and capabilities. It has no need for other bloodlines to give it more of this, or more of that. It is already a highly versatile horse. As breeders it is our role to ensure the continued success of this magnificent purebred horse.  Murgese in the UK is growing….  Slowly, respectfully and with passion and love of this special breed.”

murgese loading
Pasquale Giampetruzzi prepares to load Positano for the journey from Italy

Any plan to bring quality stock to the UK could not happen until after December as breeders of the best quality animals submit their youngstock of around 30 months of age to a formal grading in Martina Franca where the stock is assessed for its quality according to a number of criteria and are awarded grades of A, B or C. 

These graded animals represent the best of the best as far as the attributes of the breed are concerned.  Following the gradings, breeders will trade animals between themselves in order to maintain the genetic diversification of the breed which has to be done with knowledge and care as the breed improvements since 1926 are based on just 3 stallions (see History section).  Once we knew what stock would be available, we returned to Masseria Grottillo in February 2022 and decided to buy 4 young three year old stallions.


Given the fact that stallions of this breed are rarely gelded it was with some reluctance that we decided to have them castrated.  However, we had to face the reality that, as handsome as they are, the UK equestrian leisure market was probably not ready for the impact of 4 Italian Stallions!

The boys were gelded in Italy and after sufficient rest and recuperation they finally reached Summerfield Farm in Cambridgeshire on 21st April 2022.

Arrival at Summerfield Farm

To find out how our Murgese’s are getting on click the links below.