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Hafl inger Sport Horses The smaller Warmblood Ê

by Mary Procopio

A Brief Histo y The Hafl inger is a European

breed of horse that originated in the South Tyrolean region of Italy. Its name is derived from the town of Hafl ing located there. Although

small in stature compared to the typical Warmblood, its

heart and spirit are big. Today, Austria is considered to be the home of the modern Hafl inger. Contrary to popular belief, the Hafl inger is not a draft breed, but traces its origin back to the foundation stallion 249 Folie (b. 1874), sired by the half Arabian stallion 133 El’Bedavi XXII (b. 1868) and a refi ned native Tyrolean mare. (Some sources also note Folie’s sire as being half-Thoroughbred.) In most countries, including the United States, Austria and Canada, all purebred Hafl ingers must go back six generations with no outcross in order to be registered. Hafl ingers are striking in appearance since they must be light chestnut to liver chestnut in coloring with a white or fl axen mane and tail.

During World War II, Hafl ingers were crossed with other

horses to provide a smaller, sturdier pack horse capable of carrying weapons and supplies through the mountains. Following the war, Austria began a rigorous selective breeding program to return the breed to its original height and athletic build. Quality breeding is strictly adhered to there, and all breeding stock must pass inspections. Stallions are state owned; mares can be owned by individual breeders. Stud colts are inspected as weanlings, and only those seen as potential stallion candidates are retained. In Austria, stallions and mares go through two additional inspections at one and three years of age. Today there are more than a quarter million Hafl ingers worldwide and they are used for driving, endurance riding, dressage, hunters, eventing and vaulting along with being a wonderful family horse as well!

Hafl ingers in America The fi rst Hafl ingers arrived in the United States in 1958.

While the American Hafl inger Registry (AHR) promotes the Hafl inger as an all-around family horse ranging from 13.2- 15 hands in height, sport horse breeders focus on taller, athletic Hafl ingers capable of competing and winning in open competition against other breeds. Dedicated breeders

66 September/October 2012

present their Hafl ingers for AHR inspection each year. Horses rating 81 points or higher achieve gold status (less than 1% of Hafl ingers worldwide). Those rating 75 points to 80 points achieve silver status. Elite, Supreme and Star status are awarded

to stallions and mares based on the performance of their off spring at inspections.

In keeping with promoting the Hafl inger as a sport horse,

several breeders have presented their horses for inspection through the AWS (American Warmblood Society), NASPR (North American Sportpony Registry), and other sport horse performance registries. In 2003, Aristo van de Rijsdijk owned by Wyldehaven Farm (Florida) received a fi rst premium ranking at his NASPR inspection, becoming the fi rst Hafl inger stallion to be approved an as American sportpony. In 2010 Ricola DTA, owned by New Horizons Farms LLC (Michigan) was the gold medal winner (sportpony division) and ranked fi rst in the nation in the AWS National Year-End Inspection Awards Program. Ricola also received the bronze medal as the third highest scoring horse at the Michigan inspection site. In May 2012, A Gold Review HMF owned by Dreamfi eld

Manor Farm (Pennsylvania) achieved Blue Preferred status with a score of 77.3 points at an AWS inspection held in Pennsylvania, making her the highest scoring Hafl inger at that time registered AWS. “Ayla” was awarded the silver medal as the second highest scoring horse at that inspection site. In July 2012, Hafl ingers topped the AWS inspections in Michigan over several Warmbloods and took the top four placings of the day! The gold medal winner was Aura of Genesis with a score of 78.8 points, followed by silver medal winner Faith by Fire DAF who also achieved Blue Preferred status. Both mares are owned by Genesis Farm (Michigan). The bronze medal went to the Austrian imported stallion, Stellar TVR, owned by New Horizons Hafl ingers (Michigan) who scored very high Red Preferred, just missing Blue Preferred status. Less than two weeks after the AWS inspection, Stellar

attended the 2012 Weser-Ems/GOV Inspection in Michigan where he made history by becoming the fi rst Hafl inger stallion in North America to be approved for breeding through the Weser-Ems Breeder’s Society.

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