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A Rare Breed of Austrian Origin
The reliable Haflinger is the national horse of Austria. Although called a horse, this sure footed family all-rounder is of pony size generally ranging between 13 and 15hh. Haflingers are easily recognized by their attractive colouring being all shades of chestnut with profuse flaxen manes and tail.
Their origins stem from the quaint Tirolean village of Hafling where once poor mountain farmers had to rely on a horse that could do it all. The hardy Haflinger had to be strong enough to pull a cart, quiet enough to take the children to school and patient enough to be confined over the long periods of an alpine winter. Today, breeding of Haflingers is strictly controlled by way of classification and subsequent entry into a studbook of all breeding stock. This measure ensures that the Haflinger remains bred to true type and breed standard.
These days the Haflinger is arguably one of the most popular pleasure horses in Europe holding its own in all equestrian disciplines. Being ridden by adults and children alike, they equally excel in dressage, jumping and in harness, but are of course much loved as reliable family all-rounders. This is also true for the small Haflinger population in New Zealand which are successfully engaged in all aspects of equestrian pursuits.
The Haflinger horse is a relative new-comer to New Zealand. A few fillies were imported from 2002, while 2004 marks the importation of a colt that went on to be classified and subsequently used as a stallion by 2006. Although some mares were imported in foal, the first exclusively New Zealand bred Haflingers were born in 2007. Since then numbers have been steadily increasing to approximately 30 at the close of 2011.
With only one classified stallion in the country, breeding is still limited. However, a colt of different bloodlines was imported in utero and is currently being raised as a stallion prospect.The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand is indebted to the Secretary of the Haflinger Horse Association NZ for the above information.
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