Haflinger Breed History
Haflingers are a small breed of horse (not pony) that originated in the Tyrolian mountains of Austria. Contrary to some sources, the purebred Haflinger has no draft blood, but descends from a half-Arabian stallion and a refined Tyrolean mountain mare that resembled a small Warmblood. Their calm, gentle temperament, beautiful coloring, athleticism, and “easy-keeper” quality make them a great horse for people of all ages and disciplines.
These horses excel in all sport horse disciplines throughout the United States, Austria, Germany, Holland, and elsewhere in the world, including dressage and jumping, as well as in combined driving. To learn about the history of the Haflinger, click here for more information.
THe World Haflinger Federation (WHF) was reformed in 2013 and is now known as the Haflinger World Breeding and Sport Association (HWBSA). This entity sets the standards for Haflinger horses world-wide.
The epitome of the modern, sport horse Haflinger is liz Abendstern (pictured right), who stands at the Fohlenhoff in Ebbs, Austria, the center for Haflinger breeding in the world. Abendstern is a three-time World Champion Stallion (2010, 2005, 2000), two-time European Champion (2008, 2003), and multiple times Tyrolean dressage champion under saddle. Born in 1995, Abenstern stands 155cm (@15.1H).
In 2013, our Austrian imported stallion, Stellar TVR, made history as the first Haflinger stallion to attend the North American Stallion Testing and be awarded his lifetime license with Weser Ems and RPSI! In 2011, Stellar was the first Haflinger stallion in North America to be inspected and approved for breeding by the Weser-Ems Verband (sport pony and small horse division of the German Oldenburg Verband), into their main Stud Book I, and Westfalen N.A., another German sport horse registry, into Main Stud Book I, starting their Haflinger Stud Book in the United States! His foals presented to RPSI have all received Gold Premium or high Silver Premium status, with two Inspection Site Champion Foals–one over nine Warmblood and Sport Pony foals, with another Stellar foal coming in Reserve! His first breeding age daughter place in the main mare book mare at her RPSI inspection, and awarded high silver (77 points) at her AHR inspection in 2015. She went on to win Reserve Champion at First Level in the USDF All-Breeds Awards Program in 2019, and was the Alaska Dressage Society Champion at Training Level for 2017. Another daughter out of a different mare was Champion and Premium mare at her Westfalen inspection in 2018 with an overall score of 80 and a 9 for her walk in a large group of quality mares, as well as being Gold classified at her AHR inspection! Her full sister was also awarded Premium at the same Westfalen inspection with an 8.5 on trot and was the third highest scoring horse, and a Stellar son was approved for breeding through Westfalen in 2019 pending performance results.
Many people have the misconception that breeders of sport horse type Haflingers are changing the breed, but the original Haflinger was a tall, versatile, athletic horse that resembled the sport horse Haflingers of today. The World Haflinger Federation is the governing body of the Haflinger breed, and as such, sets the standard. Today, one can find several breeders throughout the United States who are now breeding the same high quality horses with the type and movement found in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. Some of these horses can be found at our farm, located in Central Michigan.