A Guide to the Haflinger Horse Breed with 6 Fun Facts is available on Horsey hooves.

The Haflinger, also known as the Avelignese, is a breed of horse developed in Austria and northern Italy during the late 19th century.Haflinger horses are small, chestnut with a tail and are well-muscled and elegant.There are several theories about the breed's origin.Haflingers are known for their resilience.Their current appearance is the result of a mixture of Arabian and European breeds into the original native Tyrolean ponies.The first breeders' cooperative was formed in 1904, after the foundation sire was born in 1874.Haflingers can trace their roots back to one of seven families.The Great Depression and World Wars I and II had a negative effect on the breed, and at times lower-quality animals were used to save it.Horses that were shorter and more draft-like were favored by the military for use as pack horses during World War II.The animals of increased height and refinement were the focus after the war.

The Haflinger was indiscriminately crossed with other breeds in the postwar era and some thought the breed was in danger of extinction.Breeders focused on producing Haflingers and a closed stud book was created.Even though the European horse population decreased, the interest in the breed increased in other countries.As of 2005, there were almost 250,000 Haflingers worldwide.Most of the breeding stock still comes from Austria.The first horse to be cloned was a Haflinger.

Haflingers can be used for a lot of things, including light draft, harness work, and various under-saddle disciplines.The Austrian and German armies still use them for rough terrain work.The World Haflinger Federation is made up of a confederation of 22 national registries and helps set breeding objectives, guidelines, and rules for its member organizations.

The village of Hafling is in northern Italy.The Avelignese is a breed from the Italian name for Hafling, which is Avelengo.Haflingers are chestnut in color and can range from a light gold to a rich golden chestnut.The mane and tail are not black.The height of the breed has increased since the end of World War II, when it stood an average of 13 hands.The desired height is between 13 and 15 hands, 54 and 60 inches, 137 and 152 cm.If taller individuals meet requirements of the breed registry, they can pass inspection and be discouraged from breeding horses under the minimum size.The breed has a light poll.The withers are pronounced, the shoulders are sloping, and the chest is deep.The back is muscular and long, while the croup is long and sloping.The legs are clean, with broad, flat knees and powerful hocks.The Haflinger has a rhythm.The walk is energetic.The canter and trot have a tendency to be light on the forehand and balanced.The canter has a very distinct motion forward and upwards, with some knee action seen.During the second half of the 20th century, temperament was an important consideration.A requirement for a kind nature has become part of official breed standards.There are two types of Haflingers, a shorter, heavier type used for draft work and a taller, lighter type for pleasure riding, light driving, and under-saddle competition.According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, there are two "Avelignese" in Italy, one of which is a breeding stallion.All breed organizations only register one type.

One of seven stallion lines leads to the foundation stallion of the breed.The names of colts and fillies are usually given with the first letter of their dam's name in mind.France, and Italy, where colts' names must begin with the letter or letters designating the stallion line, are exceptions.There are seven stallion lines.

Bolzano and Willi were great-great grandsons of Folie.In the early years of the breed's history, some inbreeding occurred, both by accident and design, which served to reinforce their dominant characteristics.During the 1980s and 1990s, several studies were conducted to examine the differences between breed lines.Differences in height and proportions have been used to help achieve breeding objectives in Italy during the 1990s.There are no comments at this time.

The Haflinger horse's history goes back to the Middle Ages.There are two main theories for the origin of the breed.Haflingers descend from horses abandoned in the Tyrolean valleys in central Europe by East Goths fleeing from Byzantine troops after the fall of Conza in 555 AD.The Haflinger may be explained by the Arabian physical characteristics seen in these abandoned horses.The progenitor of the modern Haflinger was a type of light mountain pony that was first recorded in the Etsch Valley in 1282.The second theory is that they descended from a stallion from the Kingdom of Burgundy sent to Margrave Louis of Brandenburg by his father, Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.It has been suggested that they descend from the forest horse.The geographic areas where the two breeds were developed resulted in close connections between Haflingers and the Noriker.The breed developed in a mountainous climate and was able to thrive in harsh conditions with minimal maintenance.[18]

The breed was established in Austria-Hungary in the village of Hafling.The introduction of the stallion El Bedavi to Austria in the 19th century reinforced the Arabian influence on the modern Haflinger.The foundation stallion of the breed was born in 1874 in the Vinschgau and was the half-Arabian great-grandson of El-Bedavi.The native Tyrolean mare of refined type was the dam of Folie.All Haflingers are required to trace their ancestry to Folie through one of seven stallion lines.The mountain environment in which most original members of the breed were raised has resulted in a very fixed physical type and appearance.In the early years of the breed's development, Oriental stallions such as Dahoman, Tajar and Gidran were also used as studs, but foals lacked many key Haflinger traits and breeding to these sires was discontinued.Several Austrian noblemen petitioned the government for support and direction of organized breeding procedures after the birth of Folie in 1874.High-quality Haflinger fillies were among those chosen for the government-subsidized breeding program.The best Haflinger fillies and colts have been bred to maintain the breed's quality.The army used horses not considered to meet quality standards as pack animals.Stud farms were established in Styria, Salzburg and Lower Austria by the end of the 19th century.In 1904, the Haflinger Breeders' Cooperative was founded in Mlten, in South Tyrol, with the aim of improving breeding procedures, encouraging pure-breeding and establishing a studbook and stallion registry.[ 24]

Haflingers were taken into military service as a result of World War I.South Tyrol was ceded to Italy under the terms of the Treaty of Saint Germain.The Haflinger breed was badly affected by this split as most of the brood mares were in Italy, while the high-quality breeding stallions had been kept in Austria.In the 1920s, a new Horse Breeders' Commission was established in Bolzano in Italy, which was given governmental authority to inspect state-owned breeding stallions.The Haflinger and the Noriker horse were bred by the Commission.Due to the lack of breeding stallions in Italy, a crossbred Sardinian-Arabian stallion was used for the Haflinger breeding program.[25]

The Haflinger might not exist in Austria today if it weren't for the stallions at the Stadl-Paura stud farm.Despite these stallions, the Haflinger breeding programs were not on solid footing in Austria, with the government focusing on other Austrian breeds and private programs not large enough to influence national breeding practices.The breed was kept alive through crosses to other breeds.Many areas that hosted private breeding farms before the war were assigned the remaining stallions.The first Haflinger Breeders' Show was held in the same location as the North Tyrolean Horse Cooperative in 1922.Every effort was made to import higher-quality brood mares from the South Tyrol herds in Italy in order to make up for the low quality Austrian Haflinger horses.The first studbook was established in North Tyrol.In the late 1920s, a group of Haflinger breeders in Weer and Wildschnau were able to get government permission to purchase 100 mares from South Tyrol and split them between North Tyrol, Upper Austria and Styria.One third of all registered mares in South Tyrol were sold through private treaty, and the two regions are comparable in terms of breeding-stock populations.Haflinger breeding spread throughout the entire Tyrolean province after another breeders' cooperative was established in East Tyrol in Austria in 1931.[28]

The Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s had an unfavorable effect on Haflinger breeding, but from 1938 onwards markets improved as a result of World War II.All crossbred horses and colts not of breeding quality could be sold to the army, and higher subsidies were given to Haflinger breeders.The demands of the war meant that many Haflinger type mares were covered by registered stallions, resulting in a degradation of breeding stock.The breeding program began in 1935 and 1936 thanks to the cooperation of the German agricultural authorities, military authorities and existing stud farms.The first government-run German Haflinger stud farm was established in Oberaudorf with brood mares from North and South Tyrol.A combination of high demand for pack horses and variable amounts of breed knowledge led to the purchase of both high- and low-quality horses, which had mixed results on breed quality.Austrian and Italian stock was already low from the population depletions of both world wars.The purchasing and breeding continued despite the fact that the German armed forces were ready to purchase.Many well-known Bavarian studs had crossbred maternal lines, despite claims that only purebred horses were registered.Haflingers were bred to produce horses that were shorter and more draft-like for use in the military during World War II.The emphasis on breeding changed after the war.[20]

Haflinger breeding programs almost collapsed as the military stopped buying horses after World War II.The Haflinger characteristics were neglected, despite the fact that pack horses are the largest use by the military.Haflinger had to make a horse that fit modern trends.The small breed Cooperatives were combined into the Haflinger Association of Tyrol.The breeding center at Zams was under the control of American forces, who slaughtered many horses to provide meat for hospitals.30 stallions were allowed to be kept for breeding by the troops.The horses were stolen after they were relocated to the high pasture.All one- to three-year-old colts were required to be treated as potential breeding stallions in other areas of Tyrol.The breed was feared to be dying out in the years after World War II because of indiscriminate crossing with other breeds.[5]

At conferences in 1946, and 1947, the decision was made to breed Haflinger horses from pure bloodlines, creating a closed stud book with no new blood being introduced.The association maintained 100 percent control of breeding stallions by establishing its own center and prohibiting private breeders from keeping them.Several young stallions were saved and private owners could own them.Both Bavarian and Tyrolean breeders cooperated extensively.North Tyrolean breeders were able to acquire older stallions from South Tyrol.The governing organization for the provincial associations was established in 1947 by the Federation of Austrian Haflinger Breeders.Visitors from Switzerland who attended a large-scale breed show were instrumental in founding the Haflinger population in Switzerland after sending a purchasing commission to Austria.All of Italy was in the market to purchase horses, and breeding populations spread as far south as Sicily.[32]

The Haflinger population was increasing even as the European equine population dropped due to increased mechanization.The population of Haflinger brood mares increased from 1,562 to 2,043.Even as Norwegian fjord horses were exported to Germany, the resources available for Haflinger breeding programs were reduced due to the increased marketing of the breed.The Haflinger became the dominant small horse breed in the region through well planned marketing campaigns.The German Democratic Republic followed Yugoslavia and Italy in establishing their own Haflinger programs.The first Haflingers were exported to the United States from Austria in 1959 by Tempel Smith of Illinois.The Netherlands and Turkey bought Tyrolean Haflingers in 1961.They were bred pure and crossed with the Karacabey breed.In 1969 two Haflinger mares were presented to Queen Elizabeth II upon her official visit to Austria, and in 1970 the Hafinger Society of Great Britain was established.The first Haflinger was exported to France in 1964, and they remained there until 1975, when the breeding population became stable.The population of Haflingers in France tripled between 1980 and 2000.The first international Haflinger show was held in 1965, with horses from East and West Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Austria participating.Haflingers were first exported to Belgium in 1966 and then to Bhutan in 1968.There was interest in the breed in other parts of Asia as a result of the importations to Bhutan.The first Haflinger was imported to Australia in 1974.The first Canadian Haflinger was registered with the United States breed association in 1977.Haflingers were imported into a number of countries between 1970 and 1975.They were also imported into Japan.Haflingers had a population on every populated continent by the end of the 1970s.Population numbers increased steadily through the 1980s and 1990s.[41]

Although the Haflinger is now found all over the world, the majority of breeding stock still comes from Austria, where state studs own the stallions and carefully maintain the quality of the breed.The United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and England are where breeding farms are located.Italian Haflingers had the largest population of any breed.Some breed lines became favored over others in Italy because they were bred to increase height.There was little inbreeding within the Italian Haflinger population as a whole, but certain lines had a higher incidence due to fewer breeding stallions.Between 350 and 400 foals are born each year in the provinces of Brittany, Burgundy, and Picardy.Slovenia has a small Haflinger population with around 307 breeding mares and 30 breeding stallions as of 2008.In a study done in 2009, it was found that there was a small amount of inbreeding in the population.More than 200,000 Haflingers remained in the world in 2005.[42]

The first horse clone born was a Haflinger filly named Prometea.She was cloned from a mare skin cell and was a healthy foal.In 2008, Prometea gave birth to the first offspring of an equine clone, a colt named Pegaso sired by a Haflinger stallion.Although as of 2010 other nations' registries have not yet entered a decision on the topic, the American Haflinger Registry does not allow horses born as a result of cloning to be registered.The model horse of the Haflinger was created by Breyer Horses.[47]