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August 07, 2008 | | Comments 0

Haflinger Horses

Haflinger Horses

Getting to Know Haflinger Horses

The Haflinger horse breed does not have a complicated past. It simple origins are reflected in the humble activities for which the breed is used.

Haflinger Story

There is a possibility that the Haflinger may have ancestors dating back to old Rome. The verifiable story of this breed however began only in the second half of the 1800s. A foal that was sired by a half Arabian horse became the foundation stallion of all present Haflinger horses. Its mother was a local mare. The breed derives its name from Hafling, the locality where it was first bred. Hafling was once an Austrian village but is currently a part of Italy. This is why Haflingers also bear the Italian name Avelignes.

From the very beginning, the ancestors of this breed were used as pack horses. They were most likely put to work as agricultural animals. In the Second World War, Haflingers were given a second purpose as military pack horses. Although they remained Austrian horses for a long time, they were eventually introduced to the rest of the world beginning in the 1950s. They were shipped to the U.S., Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Holland. Despite now being an internationally used breed, Austrians continue to breed the horse.

There are seven bloodlines after the foundation stallion. Foals should belong to any of these lines to be considered purebred. Offspring bloodlines are easy to determine once lineage has been traced. This is simply because all male horses have names with the same starting letters as their fathers.

Haflinger Horse Traits

Pictures of Haflinger horses will give you the impression that they are ponies. They are however real horses despite their small sizes. Some grow no taller than 12.2 hands although some may reach a bit above 15 hands. Despite being short, they can be heavy with some horses reaching over one thousand pounds. They have lean, dished heads; medium thick, arched necks, sloping shoulders, broad chests, large hooves and muscular legs. These horses are chestnut in color with no possible color alternatives. Small as they are, they are considered highly athletic horses, which accounts for their muscled appearance.

Since they were bred in a mountainous region, they have developed into a tough breed. Even so, they are difficult to handle. They are gentle, intelligent and highly sociable. This is why they would be good choices for young riders who are ready to leave their ponies for their first horses.

Although they naturally excel in light draft functions, they can also perform in competitions. They can be good horses for jumping, driving, riding and dressage.

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