The story of Haflinger horses.
The breed origin can be traced to medieval times when writings told of an Oriental breed of horse found in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains of present day Austria and northern Italy. Many of the villages and farms in the Tyrol were accessible only by narrow paths requiring light, agile and surefooted horses for transportation and packing. Artwork from the region in the early 1800s depicts a noble chestnut horse with riders and packs traversing steep mountain trails. But it was many years later before a horse would officially bear the name of the the Hafling region.
Follow the timeline below to learn how….
Haflinger Breeders Organization hosted the first inspection in North America. Thirty-seven horses were presented, and twenty-nine were approved and entered into HBO’s main stud book.
Haflinger Foundation Stallions
All modern Haflingers are descended from just seven influential stallions. The seven foundation stallion lines, formed in the 1920s, are A, B, M, N, S, St, and W. Haflinger folks sometimes refer to their horses by sire line reference, for example, “my horse is an A-line stallion, out of an N-line mare.”
The Haflinger naming convention is that all fillies are named for the first letter of their dams, and all colts are named for their sires. For example, our logo horse, Sassy, is named with an S because her dam was named Sarcasm. If Sassy had been a colt, her name was planned to be Wiseacre, because Sassy’s sire was named Wise Guy, a W-line stallion. I heard that Sarcasm is bred back to Wise Guy, and if it’s a filly they’re going to name her Snarky. (Just kidding on the breeding of a make-believe horse caricature, but… you get the idea.)
Founder of the A-line: 999 Anselmo
Born in 1926, 6th generation Haflinger
Although the A-line is considered one of the most important stallion lines today, Anselmo was not used for breeding for much of his life. When a lack of stallions after World War II caused concerns that the line would not survive, he was purchased in 1947 at the age of 21 by the Haflinger Breeders’ Association of Tyrol to cover mares from valuable maternal lines. He ultimately produced eight stud stallions, four of which were used for breeding.
Founder of the B-line: Bolzano
Born in 1915, 5th generation Haflinger
At the separation of South Tyrol from Austria, Bolzano was one of the few stallions to remain there, and with no quality line breeding undertaken in South Tyrol, the line was nearly lost. The Haflinger Breeders’ Association of Tyrol saved the line with the purchase of his grandson, Bozen, in 1965, and has since attempted to build up the strength of the B-line.
Founder of the M-line: Massimo
Born in 1927, 7th generation Haflinger
Massimo had a large initial influence on the breed with his six sons, including 1262 Midas, but over time has become known for producing outstanding daughters.
Founder of the N-line: Nibbio (Niggl 2)
Born in 1920, 6th generation Haflinger
One of the strongest stallion lines today, Nibbio is well known for producing excellent quality throughout the N-line. His line split into two branches: Naz in Germany and Austria, and Nautilus in Italy.
Founder of the S-line: Stelvio
Born in 1923, 6th generation Haflinger
Another less populous and relatively weak line, Stelvio’s S-line has resulted in individually successful horses, but none of an overall importance. The Haflinger Breeders’ Association of Tyrol has also attempted to strengthen this line with targeted breeding.
Founder of the St-line: Student
Born in 1927, 6th generation Haflinger
Student spread the St-line through the world, especially through his son Stromer. Initially prolific, the line weakened in subsequent generations, although focused breeding has a shown a recent improvement in the line.
Founder of the W-line: liz Willi
Born in 1921, 5th generation Haflinger
Although dominant today, Willi’s W-line was nearly lost. He produced far more daughters than sons, only four of his sons were kept for breeding. Of those, one died after minimal breeding, one was placed in an area with poor quality mares, and one (Willi I) was exported to Syria. Although Willi I’s line was continued by his grandson Wieland, Wieland’s dam was unregistered and so he was avoided. Willi’s fourth son, Wardein, was purchased late in life at the age of 20 to save the line. Much like Anselmo, he became incredibly influential.