Haflinger Society of Great Britain

Haflinger Society of Great Britain

The Haflinger, is a breed of horse developed in Austria and northern Italy (namely Hafling in South Tyrol region) during the late nineteenth century. Originally developed for use in mountainous terrain, they are known for their hardiness, although their current conformation and appearance are the result of infusions of bloodlines from Arabian and various European breeds into the original native Tyrolean ponies.

Haflingers  are known for their versatility and willingness to learn and work.  To this day, they have many uses including light draft, harness work and various under-saddle disciplines such as endurance riding, dressage, show-jumping, showing, eventing, equestrian vaulting and therapeutic riding. They are also still used by the Austrian and German armies for work in rough terrain.  They are described as dependable and uncomplicated.

Despite common misconception, Haflinger horses are always chestnut in colour with a flaxen mane and tail.  They have distinctive gaits described as energetic but smooth, and are well-muscled yet elegant.   The desired height today is between 13.2 and 15 hands (54 and 60 inches, 137 and 152 cm). Breeders are discouraged from breeding horses under the minimum size, but taller individuals may pass inspection if they otherwise meet requirements of the breed registry. The head should be noble and dry and harmoniously fit to the size of the body. It should have wide nostrils, large eyes, a correct position of the ears and be good through the jowl. The neck is of medium length, the withers are pronounced, the shoulders sloping and the chest deep. The back is medium-long and muscular, the croup is long, slightly sloping and well-muscled. The legs are clean, with broad, flat knees and powerful hocks showing clear definition of tendons and ligaments.  The Haflinger has rhythmic, ground-covering gaits. The walk is relaxed but energetic. The trot and canter are elastic, energetic, and athletic with a natural tendency to be light on the forehand and balanced. There is some knee action, and the canter has a very distinct motion forwards and upwards.