Prepared from information supplied by the Australian Haflinger Horse Breeders Association
Haflingers were introduced to Australia in the 1970s. There are approximately 500 registered Haflingers in the Australian studbook for 2014. Maintenance of the studbook is undertaken by the Australian Haflinger Horse Breeders Association, currently the only registered body for the breed in Australia. Haflingers have been used in various disciplines including pony club, trail riding, vaulting, dressage, jumping, cross-country, harness and showing, and as riding for therapy.
The Haflinger horse has chestnut colouring and a long, flowing flaxen mane and tail.
The Haflinger originated near the village of Hafling, in the Tyrolean mountains of Italy and Austria. The first Haflinger was documented in 1874 when a native Tyrolean mare was crossed with an Arabian stallion, resulting in the birth of Folie, from which all modern Haflingers must be able trace their ancestry. At that time, the Haflinger had to be a multi-purpose horse. Its versatility allowed it to carry a rider or a pack and pull a cart over treacherous terrain.
In the Second World War, Haflingers were used extensively, and were bred smaller and stockier to carry large loads and pull carts. The Haflinger breed is highly regarded in Austria, where the government is involved with the continuity of the Haflinger breed, and there are strict regulations involved in the breeding of purebred Haflingers across the world.
In recent times, an effort has been made to refine Haflingers true to the original type, while retaining the excellent temperaments of the horses that served during the war. A modern Haflinger is somewhat taller and more finely built. These changes have allowed the Haflinger to become more athletic, and extend the number of disciplines that a Haflinger can undertake.
All purebred Haflingers must be registered as soon as they are born, and classified after three years of age. They are typically between 140 cm and 150 cm in height. A Haflinger must be of a calm, quiet and intelligent disposition. Colours from light chestnut to dark liver chestnut with white mane and tail are acceptable.