The Haflinger has got to be one of the most versatile breeds of horse in the world, with literally dozens of different disciplines being practiced by the Haflinger every day. These horses are known for their extraordinarily kind temperaments and make wonderful family horses, whether for adults or for children and their potential is nearly limitless. Whether one is looking for a horse for jumping, dressage or driving, the Haflinger can fit the bill and more. Here are just a few of the disciplines the versatile Haflinger can participate in.
Thanks to their long history as working horses, Haflingers are naturals at driving. The only question will be what kind of driving to choose! Draft harness is used quite often, whether the purpose is actual farm work, pleasure driving, show hitch, which is a competition that can put anywhere from two horses up to eight horses in four teams of two in front of a carriage or other appropriate vehicle, and even appearing in parades. Light harness is also used, whether it is in pleasure driving lighter vehicles, combined driving, which participants must compete in conformation, dressage and a marathon, which tests speed and endurance, or carriage driving, in which larger vehicles are usually used and can be pulled by a single Haflinger, a tandem or four in hand.
Haflingers can also be seen in the most refined of competitions, including dressage, the horse ballet that tests a horse's performance ability and gait. These horses are also able jumpers, which makes them perfect candidates for other English equestrian disciplines, such as show jumping, which involves negotiating an obstacle course of jumping obstacles, and three day eventing, which combines dressage, show jumping, and cross country, which puts the horse on an outdoor obstacle course with obstacles one would naturally find out in the country, such as fences, walls or ponds.
If English Equestrian riding is not your cup of tea, Haflingers are also making names for themselves in the world of western riding. Western pleasure competition is the western world's answer to dressage, only in western tack and attire. Reining is another competition in which the rider leads the horse in a series of movements, all done at the cantor, or lope gait and gallop. Of course, Haflingers can also be found working cattle or even appearing in rodeos.
Another activity that Haflingers can participate in that recalls their long ago mountain history is packing and endurance or trail riding. Thanks to their stamina and desire to please, these endearing horses will follow wherever their riders lead them.
Finally, one of the most heartwarming activities that Haflingers are involved in is therapeutic riding. Thanks in large part to their extraordinary temperaments; Haflingers are bringing joy and new experiences to those suffering a wide range of ailments, from physical to mental and emotional. Because riding does require a certain amount of physical ability, these therapeutic sessions are helping those will physical problems to improve balance, muscle strength posture and flexibility.