Precious little is known about the true history of the Haflinger, although there is evidence to suggest it emerged in the Middle Ages in Hafling, Austria.
Over the years, this light draught animal has been utilised in many ways, from agricultural work to leisure riding and as a dependable war mount.
Historically, this equine lived alongside mountain farmers in the Alps who saw fit to domesticate it to take full advantage of its inherent strength and stamina, qualities that made it a great breed for working the land. General duties included ploughing, draught work, and transportation.
Because it developed in constant proximity to people, the Haflinger became both docile and easily handled. It was thanks to this that the breed was enlisted on a large scale during the course of the Second World War as a pack horse however, following the conflict, very few of these horses remained.
The Haflinger boasts an average to below average height (13-15 hands), with a sturdy, well balanced structure and well conformed legs. All Haflingers are sorrel or chestnut in colour, observed in a spectrum of shades. Today, efforts are being made to preserve the purity of the breed by restricting out-crossing, but the gene pool remains small.
In 2003, a Haflinger filly was successfully cloned from a mare skin cell, becoming the first artificially created horse foal to be born. The horse was produced by scientists and named Prometea.
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I am looking after Tommy, a Haflinger (plus an Appaloosa and an Icelandic Pony). When I arrived on the farm last week, Tommy was looking underweight and was gnawing at his skin which was broken. He has hair loss as well. I've been feeding him up and he's looking a little better, but I'm concerned about his skin. Before I call a vet, I'm researching the subject for more information. Any helpful comments would be most welcome.