In 1977, the South Tyrol Haflinger Sports Association was founded in the Val Sarentina/Sarntal valley. On a rainy day during the annual village fair, a handful of passionate horse owners got together at the initiative of local Haflinger aficionado Helmut Kritzinger, determined to establish a common basis to practise and promote Haflinger sport disciplines all over South Tyrol.
The South Tyrol Haflinger Sports Association was born, and Hans Schenk from Laion/Lajen was elected its very first Chairman – a position he held for a full 22 years. He was succeeded by Johann Zöggeler from San Genesio/Jenesien, Walter Christanell from Caldaro/Kaltern, Josef Reiterer from Avelengo/Hafling, Johann Hafner from Avelengo/Hafling and Richard Plack from Sarentino/Sarntal.
To this day, the South Tyrol Haflinger Sports Association organises sport events dedicated to the Haflinger breed in all of South Tyrol. Its year typically starts with the Sleigh Race and Skijoring County Championships, followed by the Easter Monday Gallop Races in Merano/Meran, a number of other racing contests in different locations throughout the summer and the Autumn Gallop Races back in Merano/Meran. Their event calendar ends with the Trot Racing County Championships.
The founding members (left to right): Helmut Kritzinger, Hans Schenk, Josef Oberrauch, Franz Oberkofler, Karl Oberkofler and Max Wenter