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From bumpkin to chic all-rounder

A soft spot for blondes - why we are so fond of Haflingers

We have to warn you at this point: once we start talking about our Haflingers, we don't stop any time soon. So think twice about whether you really want to talk to us about our horses on your next holiday at the Zallinger. Because hardly anything evokes as much enthusiasm and palpitations in us as our "blondes". There is an unspoken rule among horse people: Either you love Haflingers. Or you don't. Three guesses as to which category we belong to. In general, we can only smile at all those who talk about our Hafis with their nervous Thoroughbreds and trouble-prone Warmbloods. Because you first have to find a horse breed that can do everything and looks so outrageously good. 

From bumpkin to chic all-rounder

We're sure you'll forgive this little dig, but for a long time it was Haflinger owners who had to endure the ridicule of supporters of other breeds. In their eyes, the Haflinger was too small, too stocky, too whatever. It's true: Hafis began their world career as bumpkins. As real workhorses. As cannon fodder. But from the beginning. In 1874, a very special foal was born in the stable of a farmer in Schluderns. The son of an Arabian stallion and a Galician country mare goes down in history as the "forefather" of all Haflingers. He combines the robust frugality of his mother with the elegance and esprit of his father. The South Tyrolean farmers were literally scrambling for the offspring of "Folie", because they could make good use of the sure-footed, hard-working and agile small horses for the hard work on their mountain farms. And because a particularly large number of these horses were kept in the area around the village of Hafling, this breed was soon called "Haflinger". Now you know where our blondes got their name. The Haflingers took the events of the last centuries in their stride. As it is in their nature. They were harnessed to carts, drove fine gentlemen through the botany, dragged soldiers and war stuff up the highest mountain passes and back down again. In short: no job seemed too difficult, no terrain too demanding and no task too complicated not to be carried out on the back of the Haflinger. So. But now back to the here and now. And to our own Haflingers. 

Baby fever and mighty pride

Especially in Tyrol, be it here in Italy or in Austria, the Haflinger has become something like a golden calf. A cult object. A symbol of the homeland. The annual studbook entries and stallion approvals, the tournaments and championships are serious business. The fact that the neighbour might have raised a more beautiful filly than oneself would be a bitter blow. Despite all the breeding and equestrian ambition, we South Tyrolean Haflinger breeders are still something like one big family. One of them has done a lot for the "golden horses with the golden heart" with his golden throat: Norbert Rier, front man of the Kastelruther Spatzen is one of the most famous ambassadors for the South Tyrolean Haflinger. And because Norbert breeds such beautiful Haflingers and is such a likeable guy, we are always happy to sit with him on the bench in front of the Zallinger and chat about God and the world and our Haflingers. We are convinced to our bones that Haflingers are the greatest horse breed of all. Because whatever the horse lover feels like doing - the Haflinger can easily handle it: Dressage, jumping, carriage driving, reining, western pleasure, skijoring, gallop racing, trotting, vaulting, hippotherapy, liberty dressage... You name it. In addition, Haflingers are small and quiet enough for children, but at the same time robust and lively enough for ambitious sport riders. Our Zallinger Haflingers even seem to have springs under their hooves: Luisa's horses have already won four gold medals in show jumping at the European Haflinger Championships in South Tyrol. At many a show jumping competition, even outside South Tyrol's borders, even experienced horse trainers are amazed when they see a "flying" Zallinger Haflinger in the jumping course. We really wouldn't know what kind of horse breed we would put in our stables instead of Haflingers. But that doesn't even cross our minds. Instead, we are looking forward to another annual spectacle: the end of February to mid-March is foaling season! And this year we can look forward to four offspring. You can marvel at them on our alpine pasture in summer. But don't say we didn't warn you: once you've fallen in love with Haflingers, you'll stay in "blonde fever" forever!

Now tell us, are you horse fans? Or do you prefer to look for happiness somewhere else? Write to us, we'd love to chat with you. Preferably about Haflingers! 
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