A Haflinger for a Hauflin

Gipsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark. Attributed to the Claddaugh Gypsies of Galway.

When I went searching for the perfect horse breed for my fantasy novel, Shadows in the Stone, there were several characteristics I desired.

1) She had to be pretty with a flowing mane to capture the attention of readers and other characters.Haflinger

2) She had to be sturdy, versatile, able to trek rough terrain, including mountain trails, and have stamina to travel through all sorts of weather for weeks on end.

3) She had to be big enough to carry two individuals around 150 pounds each. Yet, she couldn’t be gigantic because in book two of the series, Scattered Stones, she careens through a dungeon maze.

4) She had to be intelligent and a quick learner.

5) She couldn’t be your standard, every day, common breed – Morgan, Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Paint, Appaloosa – but a breed relatively unknown and looked upon with wonder.Haflinger

6) Her breed had to be ancient and reach back into the centuries, so it would fit into a fantasy world. This automatically eliminated breeds such as Morgan which was developed in the United States around 1795.

I wanted the horse in the novel to stay as true to the breed as possible to make it real to both the average reader and the horse-lover who may ride this breed.Haflinger

After much searching, I found the perfect mare: a Haflinger pony. The native of Austria is a mountain breed with sure feet. She’s strong and versatile, able to carry a load, work on a farm and haul a wagon. She measures between 13hh and 14.2hh high but taller horses can also be found. For my novel, a pony of about 14hh is perfect.

Haflinger ponies are incredibly beautiful. The hair colour is red chestnut and they have a flowing flaxen mane and tail. Many ponies have a white star, blaze or stripe on their nose. Their large eyes are dark and lively. Their legs are short indicating they are steady on their feet, making them great for the tight spaces on the mountain trails my characters travel.

This breed is quick to learn and easy to handle in general. This is important since a twelve-year-old hauflin child will occasionally ride her.

The name chosen for this flaxen beauty is Clover. She’s a unique character with a mysterious past. She’ll surprise her riders several times during her journey to find home.

8 thoughts on “A Haflinger for a Hauflin

  1. I love the Haflinger pony. I have a pony in my book Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting. His name is Pedro and I have described him very similar to Clover. (Although I knew nothing about Haflinger ponies at the time. I like the research you did on this. My next book has a main coone cat in it and I did extensive research on that breed. I too lok forward to reading this novel.


    • In this house with a daughter who lives and breathes horses, it’s hard to know not the basics about horses. I love including animals in my writing, particulary the ones I have first-hand knowledge about. Right after a horse sneezed in my face, I added it to my novel. It fit perfectly.

      I’m learning cats have extensive personalities, so they make great additions to any story. I love the name Pedro. Many Spanish names are beautiful. My favourite name of all time is Montoya. Since I heard it spoken in The Princess Bride I haven’t been able to forget it.

      Thanks for dropping by, Darlene.


    • I think my daughter would disown me if I were allergic to horses. Certainly, she won’t marry someone who is. If he doesn’t like horses, she won’t have anything to do with him. lol

      Thanks, Lynn.


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