Country Horses–Haflingers

All photos by author.

Friends of mine breed, raise and train Haflinger horses. They take the horses to fairs and the local farm show. The Haflinger breed originated in the mountains of Austria and Italy. People wanted a horse with the muscular strength necessary to pull carts, yet with the smaller size more suited for mountainous terrain and smaller pastures than the Belgian.

I interviewed my friends about the Haflingers. Here’s what I found out about these beautiful, intelligent and strong horses.

Question: What are they used for?

Answer: Haflingers are an all-around breed—for driving or riding. 

Question: What’s their general temperament?

Answer: Docile for the most part, but horses used in a hitch (for shows) are performance horses and can be high-strung.

Question: How much do they weigh, in general?

Answer: Generally they run around 800-1,000 pounds (approx. 363-454 kilograms), but some can go 1,200-1,400 pounds (approx. 544-635 kilograms).

Question: How are they for riding?

Answer: Many people ride the horses Western style; some ride English style. The horses are stocky-built, and because of that, riding a Haflinger can take a bit of getting used to.

Question: How about driving?

Answer: Haflingers are used either in a one-horse cart, a team, a four-horse hitch, a six-horse hitch, or an eight-horse hitch. Tandem driving means one horse in front of another. When the horses are driven “unicorn” style, it means one horse in front with a team of horses in the back.

Thanks to my friends for this info. (and the cart ride!)

P. Booher

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