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This is a discussion on Haflingers within the Horse Breeds forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category
  • Haflinger endurance riding
  • Haflinger for endurance horse forum

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    09-09-2012, 09:04 PM

Hi - I have the opportunity to get a Haflinger to join our horse family and wanted to get some personal background about the breed - the good, the bad and the ugly . I understand they are a smaller breed but are they able to carry a full size adult - even a man?

Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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    09-09-2012, 09:30 PM
Hi, welcome to the forum

Haflingers...as my husband says, lots of bang for the Buck
They, ride, dressage, western, trail, they jump, drive, pack, everything.
The German army uses them as pack horses in the mountains, I personally know several who give many a QH a hard time in the reining ring, I've seen them cut and work cattle. And yes, they can easily carry even heavier riders.
They're VERY easy keepers, get and stay fat on air alone.

Usually really good-tempered horses they can be a bit stubborn at times.
And many of them have built in "green brakes"....they see grass and down goes the head
Some years ago the Austrians and Germans have used Arabian stallions to create a more refined sport Hafi. Didn't go too well, they became too hot, although very pretty.

Hope this helps
Thyme likes this.
    09-09-2012, 09:33 PM
Congrats! They are Great!

Congrats! I love Haflingers. Please excuse me for being biased though, because we have 2 perfect little ponies that are Haflingers.

Basically, they originated in Austria where people bred the hardy mountain horses to be used to ride, drive, and plow through the Austrian Alps. They were bred for easy keeping and surefootedness, as they were raised in the mountains, let loose to forage for themselves a lot of the time. But they were also bred for their beautiful flaxen chestnut color, which all purebred Haflingers have today, in varying shades. In the 1800's, the local mountain mares were bred with a half-Arabian stallion, and the resulting small horse inherited the good characteristics of both breeds. They are strong and tough and loyal, but they are also fast, athletic, and have lots of endurance.

One of our Haflingers was actually imported from Austria as a 3 year old and we bought her after being a broodmare for 10 years. She is just amazing. We can drive her in the wagon, then go herd cows, then jump a showjumping course and win. She is 26 now and still just as good as ever, and when she was 22, she competed in a 25 mile endurance ride, and got a way better P&R than my mom's QH/Paint.

The good:They are very kind horses, and can be amazing kids horses. But they can also be great for high-level horses of every imaginable discipline. There is seriously not one thing that a well-bred Haflinger can do (excluding breed-only things, like TWH shows, obviously). One lady we met won a 100-mile endurance ride on her Haflinger, and the highest one jumped was over 5 feet, and I believe that horse was only 13-14 hands tall. They are very surefooted, and have feet so tough they can climb a mountain barefoot. Also, Troya (the Austrian-bred one) turns into a Yeti in winter. I measured one of her chin hairs last winter at over 4 inches long.

The bad: They Can be stubborn spoiled brats. They can be, and usually are, VERY independent, and won't just blindly follow you unless you give them a reason. Also, so many people buy them because they hear they are great family horses, and they can be, but you CANNOT let them walk all over you. You have to make sure you MAKE them respect your space, or else they will just run you over with their 1000 lbs of Haflinger. Also, this is probably just my horse, but Tiara is a picky brat. I didn't make her that way, she just is. She refuses to eat beat pulp unless it is out of my hand, and don't even think about braiding her forlock. She will toss her head and try to rub the braid out on any hard object, including people and sharp point, and will not pay attention to anything else she is doing until her hair is freed! She's the same way with fly fringes, but only on some days, others she's fine with them. She is also very vain. She loves tossing her hair all over the place.

And beware. Some people nowadays are breeding "Haflinger sport-horses", many of which are basically just palomino Arabians.

They can carry a full-grown man too. Even though they are pony-sized, they are always called horses because they have the strength and build of a horse, and they (mostly) don't have the pony mischievousness. They are basically stocky horses, just a little smaller. Troya is only 13.1, but she can very easily carry my 160ish lbs dad.

But anyways, there you go. Enjoy your Haflinger! I love mine. Tiara is like my dream horse. We are starting eventing this fall, and according to my instructor, Haffies are actually pretty popular in low-level eventing! And just a warning; a common saying in the Haflinger world is this: Haflingers are like potato chips. You can't have just one!
Momo and Thyme like this.
    09-09-2012, 09:41 PM
Thank you for the posts!! This is giving me a lot of great information. It sounds like a Haflinger could be what we were looking for to add to our group. I will keep you posted!
    09-10-2012, 10:28 AM
One additional question that I do have is how are Haflingers to live with other horses. We have a QH who just a gentle giant and a Class B Mini who just goes along with the program. I hear this Haflinger is very laid back - is that their normal trait?
    09-10-2012, 11:01 AM
Well, that depends if this one lived in a herd. I'd ask how he is with other horses.
Then, of course, the new one safely separated but with first sight, then touching contact. When all goes well, he can go with the others. My observation with having a pair and adding #3, the lower man on the totem pole will fiercely defend his position
    09-10-2012, 11:09 AM
Yes, he is already in a herd - actually a much larger herd that includes mini's and I am told he just goes along with the program which is very similiar to what we have now. I do have the space to associate the group slowly.

Thank you for your help!
    09-10-2012, 11:47 AM
I think we need pictures!
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    09-10-2012, 12:56 PM
Yessssssssssssss, we NEED pictures
    09-10-2012, 01:44 PM
Good luck with your decision. I adore my Haflinger. He seems to be a little different than the common description. He is extremely respectful and obedient but a little shy and skittish. He is seventeen now, and I've had him for five years. He finally seems confident and trusting with me. He is energetic and ready to go every time I ride. It takes almost no effort to get him to trot.

He does well with my herd of three, but he lets them know he is in charge. The funny thing about him is that he is more gentle with smaller animals. He is very dominant with my large Paint mare, but he has let dogs and goats steal food from his bucket before.

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