The Hackney breed is one which was developed in Great Britain in the 14th century.
The aim, upon developing the breed, was to produce a horse which was ideal for pulling carriages, but also very quick and agile. The development of the breed was also due to the King of Edward, who wanted a powerful but attractive breed of horse, which could be used for general riding. Since their development, the Hackney horse was a primary riding horse.
The modern form of the Hackney horse breed was then subsequently developed in 1729, with an Arabian stallion and Norfolk Trotter used as foundation stock of the breed. This modern Hackney was originally known as the Norfolk Roadster. It was a fast and powerful horse, with great stamina.
The long-distance trotting of the modern Hackney form was noted by many breeders as the main strength of the Hackney breed. They were also historically used is long-endurance races and they could cover huge distances in less than ten hours! One horse was reported to have won a race in less than one hour, having completed a 17-mile journey.
The first breed society was formed in 1883, with the name ‘Hackney’ then chosen as the new name of the breed. The society’s stud book has records of the breed going as far back as 1755. The breed was in huge demand throughout the 1800’s and today there is an estimated 3,000 Hackney horses worldwide, the majority of which are found in the UK. Approximately 200 Hackney horses are found in the US and a further 300 in Argentina.
Only a few strains of the modern Hackney form contain pure genetics of the ancient Hackney form and these are considered a conservation priority. The breed is also related to the Hackney pony, which was established in the 1870s through crossing Hackney horse with Welsh, Fell and may other pony breeds.
Standing at between 14.2-16 hands tall at the withers, the Hackney horse is a medium-sized, muscular breed.
The breed has retained its athletic and versatile nature throughout the years and still excels in driving sports. Known for their speed and style, they have strong, large legs and durable feet. The breed is also a good jumping horse and is widely used for riding purposes. They are mainly reared for riding purposes and shows, nowadays.
The Hackney horse breed is usually coloured either brown, bay, chestnut or black and can be found with or without white markings. They can come in a solid colouration also. The breed is well muscled and sturdy in nature, weighing up to 450kgs at full maturity. They also have a long lifespan, living between 20-35 years.
An easily handled breed, the Hackney horse breed are also easily trained. They can be trained to perform a variety of tasks and enjoy being handled and petted. The breed is now found all over the world, though the majority of Hackney horse populations are still found in their native UK.
One of the world’s rarest and most beautiful breeds, the Hackney horse.
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