We continue our ‘Meet Our Breeds’ series with Captain, a Haflinger who is one of the tack models for our website.
Haflingers are commonly recognized for their sturdy but modest frames and their double mane (mane that grows on both sides of the neck) of “blond” hair, but they’re more than just a pretty face. The breed is thought to have its roots in the Middle Ages, but was officially developed in Italy and Austria in the late 1800s. People found their stockiness useful for pack horses in the World Wars, but after WWII, the Haflinger population dipped to dangerous lows. The studbook was closed in the 1940s and the population grew steadily in Europe through the 1950s and 1970s.
These days, Haflingers are both driven and ridden under saddle in endurance, dressage, and vaulting events. They’re an excellent size and build for therapeutic riding programs, too. The breed is recognized for the intelligence and relaxed attitude that is common with draft-type breeds. Their calm disposition can almost be deceptive, according to some experts, who say they allow people to think they’re more experienced than they really are.
Captain has seen it all though, as a member of Asbury University’s equine studies program. The nearby private college in Asbury, Ky. graciously allows us to use some of their teaching equids to model our equipment from time to time, and it’s always an honor to photograph this guy.