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And Man met the horse: Man changes the horse and vice versa (#IICMONTREALWEBINARSERIES)

The Italian Institute of Culture in Montreal and the Department of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Turin are pleased to present the webinar series entitled “And Man met the horse”. The horse has followed the life of men and civilizations, since the dawn of time. Originally from the Eurasian steppe, at first it provided man with meat, milk and skins and only in the metal age did it become a protagonist among draft animals and prince for horse riding, marking memorable moments in military and sporting history. His part in literature and art has always been central, that of the noble animal, reflecting the interests and passions of peoples. The figurative arts have represented its beauty in every age: from the equine figures left by primitives on the walls of prehistoric caves to the horses of the admirable equestrian monuments of the Italian Renaissance.

The webinar series “And Man met the horse”, created with Prof. Domenico Bergero, Director of the Department of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Turin, develops in a program rich in scientific, cultural, historical- artistic, sports… and many other curiosities: all entrusted to the words and knowledge of Italian scientists and scholars.

Friday, November 20th 2020, 3pm (Montreal), 9pm (Rome)

Registration required

The webinar, opened and animated by Francesco D’Arelli, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Montreal, and by Prof. Domenico Bergero, presents the following conferences:

Paola Sacchi, The selection of the horse between past and future
As early as 370 BC, Xenophon, in his treatise on horse riding, instructed young nobles on the principles for the selection, breeding and management of horses for military use and for work. Some of these teachings retain a disconcerting relevance even after twenty-four centuries, to the point that some practices of governing animals are still repeated today unchanged. What has profoundly changed, on the other hand, are horses: by choosing from time to time the animals that presented the most suitable characteristics to meet their needs, man has, often unknowingly, changed the genetic heritage of the species. The evident result of this selection work are the dozens of breeds, often obtained from a few subjects, specialized in running, jumping, transporting heavy loads, mountain work or warfare. But are we sure that we have not lost something on this path? Knowledge of the past and new genomic information can guide us in making responsible choices for this species which has maintained a respectable position in our cultural consciousness over the centuries.

Daniele Ormezzano, The horse in North America: round trip
The evolution of the horse takes place in North America, where it also disappears about 10,000 years ago. Through the Beringia, a continental bridge between America and Asia, it had spread to Eurasia and Africa. It returns with the arrival of the Spaniards and easily reconquers the territory by profoundly changing the habits of the natives.

Mario Gennero, Turin and the horses
If Naples was the origin of the history of modern horse riding, Turin has decreed the birth of the contemporary one. The Savoy city, in addition to the wealth of its equestrian monuments, boasts many firsts in the world of horses: the first national horse competition, the first historic international horse competition, the presence of captain Federico Caprilli and the conquest of the jumping record, just to mention some data. This will be the subject of the dissertation dedicated to the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy and to horses.

Paola Sacchi, veterinary surgeon, full professor of Animal Genetics at the Department of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Turin. She is in charge of the II level Master in “Quality, food safety and sustainability of the milk supply chain” and deals with the genetic improvement of production, with particular regard to the study of the factors that influence the quality of milk and the welfare of animals.

Daniele Ormezzano, former Conservator of the Paleontological Collections at the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences in Turin, has been fond of horses since childhood and has dedicated studies and conferences to this animal. He is currently President of the Friends of the Historical Museum of the Cavalry of Pinerolo.

Mario Gennero, a graduate of the University of Turin, is a judge in show jumping of the FEI and a director of the Regional Committee of the Piedmont Fise. He has collaborated with the main equestrian magazines, author of publications on horses and the history of Italian equitation. He deals in particular with Renaissance horse riding and Caprillian horse riding.

Domenico Bergero, former horse show rider, graduated with honors in Veterinary Medicine in Turin. Veterinary officer, hippiatra. Since 1990 lecturer at the University of Turin and Full Professor since 2009. Graduated from the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition. Since 2018 Director of the Department of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Turin. Author of about 200 scientific works (about 70 cited by ISI web of Sciences), concerning animal nutrition, management and work physiology of the sport horse.


  • Organized by: Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Montréal
  • In collaboration with: Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie dell’Universit
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