My love for Haflingers started early. I always loved horses but when I was offered to take care and ride a Haflinger mare, a school horse, in exchange of mucking stables when I was 14, I definitely fell in love with these special ponies. Learning how to handle those cute blondes had an everlasting impact on my horsey life. I was allowed to work here on my own and, on top of that, I took lessons, mostly in show jumping back then. She was the devil in disguise: once in the ring, she jumped until the third or fourth fence and then decided to leave the arena. Countless times I cried, countless times I fell off. But as I grew older, I was sure that I would stick to Haflingers and buy my own one day.
Years later, I had the chance to buy my first horse. Actually, the first one was a Standardbred off the track that I bought as school horse for my boyfriend back then and only a month later, I found my dream horse: I had a 2.5 year old Haflinger stallion in mind and I found him. Really quickly. The plan was to train the Standardbred and teach my boyfriend how to ride and later start the stallion and have two horses to work in the end. Hacking and a little leisure riding - that was the plan.
That plan did not work out. Soon, I did break up with my boyfriend and moved. The stallion, Andor but known as Hafl, grew up and I knew that keeping two horses was not an option. So I kept Hafl and started to work him. And we changed our minds on hacking and leisure riding and started a dressage career, now working on third level movements like flying changes. Who would have thought?
Haflingers are pretty common here in Austria and there are some good reasons for that: they are robust, solid enough to cover many types of riders and versatile. They are used for carriage driving and dressage alike, are happy jumpers, can be seen at three days and are bulletproof in the woods. They can do pretty much everything. And they looked super cute with their huge eyes, their thick forelocks, manes and tails. Hafl has curly long hair which is even cuter! Their chestnut coat is a very handy color when it comes to combining with colorful saddle pads.
Some say that they are stubborn - just like most of the ponies in this world but I think that they are simply clever and easily bored. Hafl is a great example of a Haflinger with a great work ethic. I never see him stubborn but always hard working, with a strong mind but always trying to please. And people love him! Who wouldn't with this cute face?