It is thought the Hackney developed in the latter part of the 18th century when Norfolk Trotters were first introduced to mares in Yorkshire, resulting in the formation of a new show breed.
Historically, various breeds such as the Arabian, Thoroughbred and Friesian contributed to the development of the Hackney, adding endurance, scope and spirit to the gene pool. Like the Trotter, the Hackney Horse is a light equine with a confident trotting gait and a sporting gusto. It rose to popularity with the advent of better road maintenance, when rough dirt tracks became smooth and accessible highways.
Generally speaking, the Hackney is an attractive, refined and able-bodied equine that is commonly seen in leisure riding, dressage and show jumping today. Its height typically ranges between 14-16 hands and unlike most horse breeds, the standard accepts both horse and pony height ranges.
The Hackney is mostly observed in Britain, although it has been exported to the United States, Australia and the Netherlands.
Due to its enthusiasm, polished conformation and keen abilities, the Hackney Horse is sometimes referred to as “the high-stepping aristocrat of the show ring.”