The origin of the Haflinger can be traced back to medieval
times when writings told of an indigenous Oriental breed of
horse that was found in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains on
the border of present day Austria and northern Italy. Many
villages and farms of the Tyrol were accessible only by narrow
paths requiring small, agile, rugged and surefooted mountain
horses for daily transportation and packing supplies. So,
for centuries, a line of these native horses was bred in southern
Tyrol. They were general riding horses, light draft and harness
horses as well as pack animals. Regional artwork in the early
1800's shows a noble chestnut horse with riders and packs
traversing steep mountain trails.
In 1874, in the village of Hafling, Austria, (which after
WWI is now in Italy), 249 Folie , the first registered Haflinger
was born. He was sired by a royal half Arabian stallion named
133 El' Bedavi XXII and out of a refined native Tyrolean mare.
All modern purebred Haflingers must trace their ancestry
directly to Folie through seven different stallion lines:
A, B, M, N, S, ST, and W. Folie inherited his mother's strength,
disposition and stamina and the refined, elegant grace and
bone structure of his father. A year later, an influential
count persuaded officials from the Austrian Imperial Ministry
of Agriculture to establish an objective Haflinger breeding
program. After the stallion Folie, crossing with a horse from
another breed is not permitted on either side of the stallion
or the mare. Pure breeding is the primary guideline of the
American Haflinger Registry(AHR) in Rootstown, Ohio, which
is the official breed association and studbook registry in
the United States.
The Haflinger came to North America in 1958 when Tempel Smith
of Illinois, imported them from Austria to begin a breeding
program. Soon others began importing Haflingers and today
there several importers and breeders throughout the United
States and Canada. While Haflingers can be imported from Germany,
Holland, England, and Italy, most continue to come from Austria.
The modern Haflinger is now found all over the world, active
in such varied disciplines as dressage, jumping, vaulting,
packing, pleasure driving, CDE, western trail riding, CTE,
endurance riding, draft work and therapeutic riding programs.
Haflingers hold their own in competition with other breeds,
often showing surprising athletics and strength for their
A desirable appearance of the horse is one of elegance and
harmony. A harmonious balance should be strived for that is
suitable for an all around pleasure horse. The Haflinger should
have a lean and expressive head with large forward pointing
eyes and wide nostrils, well formed neck and supple mid section,
a good croup not too divided and not too short, a distinct
musculature as well as correct, defined limbs with good joints.
The tail should not be set too low. Stallions and mares for
breeding should have clearly defined masculine or feminine
Haflingers are generally pony sized standing about 14 hands
on the average, although the modern variation can reach 15
hands. The desired range however is from 54 in. to 60 in,
or 13.5 to 15 hands. Failure to attain the minimum height
at 3 years means the animal will be strongly discouraged from
breeding. The maximum size may be exceeded if the horse has
an excellent or outstanding exterior evaluation.
The most notable characteristic of the Haflinger is its striking
coat color; it is always chestnut with a white, or flaxen,
main and tail. Color may range from pale chestnut to dark
liver chestnut, but always with pale flaxen mane and tail.
The paler, golden versions are often identified as palomino.
Color impurities in the base color such as roan, or black
spots are undesirable, as are color impurities in the mane
and tail, and any excessive color deviations will be considered
very negatively and breeding will be strongly discouraged.
Head markings are desirable, but not a prerequisite, although
too many markings are undesirable and can end up becoming
strongly discouraged for breeding. Leg markings are not desirable
and are penalized in the breed standard of the AHR as follows:
One white leg will not be penalized, two white legs will result
in a one point deduction, three white legs will result in
a two point deduction, and horses with four white legs or
white above the knees or hocks will be strongly discouraged
from breeding. A white leg is a white sock that extends above
the fetlock joint. White markings are signified by a change
in skin pigment.
The basic gaits of the Haflinger are distinctive and energetic
but smooth. They are rhythmic and swinging, and consist of
a 4 beat Walk, a 2 beat trot, and a 3 beat canter. The movements
at a walk should be relaxed energetic and elevated. The movements
at the trot and gallop should be supple, swinging, light on
the feet with a noticeable swinging phase and with a natural
suspension. Some knee action is desirable. In particular,
the canter should demonstrate a clear forward and upward springing
sequence. The horse should have a good long reaching swinging
stride with an elastic gait, showing good impulsion from behind.
The stride should be correct, supple and of a pure rhythm
without serious faults.
The Haflinger has a Willing, Docile and Uncomplicated temperament.
In particular, it has an excellent character without vices
or bad habits and an even temperament.
Currently, there are two different types of Haflinger a short
draft style good for driving or farm work, and a taller, more
refined version bred for riding and jumping.
Basically, a Haflinger is a horse with strong character and
good natured. He should be strong all round and both eager
and able to perform, as well as easy to acclimatize to being
useful for all purposes. In particular this is true for riding,
driving and jumping in the sport sector, but also as a working
horse for pulling and carrying.
The Haflinger continues to capture hearts and enrich lives
in North America as it has for over two centuries in Austria.
Author Resource:-> Crystal writes for http://www.HorseClicks.com,
classifieds of Haflinger Horses for sale