The history of the Haflinger horse can be traced to medieval times when writings told of an Oriental race of horse found in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains which were once part of Austria, but now belong to Northern Italy. Many of the villages and farms in the Tyrol were accessible only by narrow paths requiring agile and sure-footed horses for transportation and packing. Artwork from the region from the early 1800s depicts a small noble chestnut horse with packs and riders traversing steep mountain trails. The first official documentation of the present day Haflinger (named after the South-Tyrolean village of Hafling) was in 1874 when the foundation stallion 249 Folie was born of the half-Arab stallion 133 El' Bedavi XXII crossed with a refined native Tyrolean mare. All modern purebred Haflingers must trace their ancestry directly to Folie through seven different stallion lines: A, B, M, N, S, ST, and W. During the years of World War II, there was a significant shift in breeding practices, as pack horses were needed by the military and a shorter, draftier Haflinger fitted the bill. Following the war, the height and refinement of the breed returned with an emphasis on developing a small horse that was versatile for both riding and driving, with a strong constitution, a solid conformation with substantial bone, and an uncomplicated personality.

The modern Haflinger is now found all over the world, active in such varied uses as draft work, packing, light harness and combined driving, western and trail riding, endurance riding, dressage and jumping, vaulting and therapeutic riding programs. Haflingers hold their own in competition with other breeds, often showing surprising athleticism and strength for their size.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Haflinger".