365 Days in Horse Country – The Hardy Haflinger
The Haflinger ia an attractive little horse that hails from the Austrian and Italian Alps of Europe. Named after the Tyroleon mountain village of Hafling, these hardy mountain ponies lived in the Alps during the Middle Ages. They spent their lives among the winding, narrow paths of the steep mountains, plowing fields, pulling logs, and carrying alpine farmers through the rugged terrain.
Although most European farmers began using tractors and other motor vehicles for farm work by the early 1900s, the Haflinger remained the transportation of choice in the Alps. During World War II, the breed was also used as military packhorse in the mountains. Not long after the war ended, the Austrian government took control of the breeding of Haflingers.
In the 1960s, the first Haflingers were exported to North America. One group of horses went to live in the state of Washington, the other in Illinois. Two registries formed to represent the breed in the United States, the Haflinger Registry of North America and the Haflinger Association of America. In 1998, these two registries combined to make the American Haflinger Registry, the group that registers the breed today.
Today, Haflingers are used in a variety of disciplines. They are seen in different shades of chestnut, from light to dark. All Haflingers have a white or blonde mane and tail, and they measure anywhere from 13.2 hands to 15 hands in height.