Haflingers were first imported into Great Britain in the 1960s. They were the native ponies from the Alpine farms of Austria and have a long history on the continent.
In the South Tyrol, where the breed originated, stallions have been registered for nearly one hundred years, and organized breeding by a government department has been in operation for more than fifty years.
The breed was established by crossing the native Tyrolean pony with Arab blood brought back from the continental wars with the Turks. The result was a combination of native hardiness with spirit and elegance. They are now established in many different countries on all five continents.
The Duchess of Devonshire, our Patron, was one of the first to see the possibilities of the breed. Her Majesty the Queen is also an owner of Haflingers after being presented with two mares during a state visit to Austria.
The Haflinger Society of Great Britain, founded in 1970, modeled itself on the Austrian (Tyrolean) precepts regarding the Haflinger breeding. Herr Otto Schweisgut, who developed the modern Haflinger breed in Austria, guided and supported the Haflinger Society of Great Britain during its formative years.
The Society is still guided by Austria and linked through membership of the World Haflinger Federation, which unites most of the world’s Haflinger Societies, setting overall standards and breeding aims.