Haflinger: son of the South-Tyrol mountains
The horseshoe-shaped landscape between the rivers Etsch and Eisack - its wide uplands, infinite meadows and beautiful larch forests - is just perfect for horserides. That is why, if you are hiking on the Tschoggelberg mountain, you are very likely to meet a friendly Haflinger.
The horse-loving tradition for our Haflingers is older then you might expect. Officially the breeding began in 1874, when stallion Folie 249 was born in a farm in Sludern. He was just as the breeders wanted him to be: "a small horse suitable for the land, that would not let down, not even in the alpine war-area".
The breed takes its name from the town Hafling in South-Tyrol. The name Haflinger has always been used for this mountain horse, known also as Avelignese, from the Italian name of the town, Avelengo.
"The Haflinger is a small, 150-160 cm tall, short, wide and solid work animal suitable for the mountains. It is very willing and is able to find the best path, because it has a good disposition for survival", so reads an original description of Haflinger found in a report of the Ministry for agriculture in the late 19th Century. Even the Vienna authorities mentioned the interest the army showed for the breeding of this mountain horse
Hard work, but also fun
Thanks to the public support, an official breeding foundation was organised. The first cooperative of horse breeding was founded in 1904 in Molten. Up to our days there is a meticulous registration of unions between stallions and mares so that pedigrees can be determined. In 1900 the Haflinger was well known for its suitability to hard work and long rides. The first farmer's horse race was on Easter Monday 1896. This folkloric event takes place twice every year in the racecourse in Meran and is followed by many tourists and residents.
Through hard and good times
People knew from the beginning that the Haflinger was an excellent quality horse, and understood how important it was to organize a breeding that would follow specific rules and could last long through the years. That is how the Haflinger brand was born, in order to identify all the suitable horses.
Over a century of breeding: this is a history of hard times and war, but also of success in breeding and of idealist farmers, who would find in this sociable and friendly horse a valid support for the hard countryside life.
A good friend for sports
The greatest change can be seen in rural life. In the 50s and 60s the Haflinger was necessary for hard work and for transport on the mountains, but even if in time more and more agricultural machines were used, fortunately the horses didn't disappear. Today the Haflinger is a horse for sports and free time in over 60 countries and has lovers and estimators all over the continent.
The Haflinger is and always will be a trusted friend, who does well in sport competitions and is loved for its excellent character, devotion and endurance.