In 1874, a local breeder by the name of Josef Folie suceeded in cross-breeding the oriental stallion "133 El Bedavi XXII" with a local mare of Galician origin at his farm in Sluderno/Schluderns. The result was a noble golden colt, which the proud breeder named after his family: 249 FOLIE.
Folie was a golden sorrel with a distinctive dorsal stripe inherited by its mother. It was the combination of the mother's force and strength, which are typical for horses bred in the mountains, and the oriental father's nobility and elegance that made Folie a unique foal. It was described as "very muscular, with the noblesse of its Arab distinction, long, sloped shoulders, a strong back, straight rump, strong muscles and joints, a long and correct stride and an excellent temperament".
The seven stallions which are considered the founders of the blood line in Haflinger breeding are all offspring of Folie.
The lines are denominated with the letters A, B, M, N, S, St and W. The stallions are each given a name beginning with the initial letter of their father's name.
In South Tyrol there has always been a great demand for small, agile cart drawing and packhorses which were also suitable for riding and most importantly, sure of step. Those who mostly bought these small horses were farmers and traders from the village of Avelengo/Hafling and the Monzoccolo/Tschögglberg area. This is why, over time, the term "Haflinger" (in other words: "from Hafling") came increasinlgy into use to indicate the sturdy, versatile horses with uncomplicated feeding needs. Initially, the term was not used to describe the breed, but rather referred to the kind of activity these horses were being employed for. In reference to the breed, the denomination "Haflinger" was only officially recognised by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture with the decree of 2 May 1898.
The modern Haflinger is the result of various different breeding stages and situations which influenced its development over time. The breed has historically always been faced with a certain need to adapt to economical and situational requirements. It was originally a packhorse, but later employed for military use in war years and of course as a cart horse in agriculture and forestry. All of these key developments have left a significant mark on the nature of the Haflinger and can today conveniently be benefited from in the different uses of the breed (Download history_overview.pdf).