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Riding on the Back of a Haflinger Horse in South Tyrol is a Magnificent Experience
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Riding on the Back of a Haflinger Horse in South Tyrol is a Magnificent Experience

Riding lessons, carriage rides and horse rides at up to 2,000 meters in height – Avelengo is the place for horse lovers.

Nothing but the sounds of nature, the clatter of hooves and a feeling of lightness and freedom: on horseback past idyllic farms, through larch forests and wild paths, with great views of the Ifinger mountain and the sky above. From here it is not far to the Wurzer Alm mountain pasture.

At 1,707 meters, Avelengo/Hafling offers impressive panoramic views of the mountains of South Tyrol – from the Ötztal Alps, through the Ortler Group, to the Gampen Pass and Mendel Pass. You will not need much more to feel happy.

As you know, all the good luck of the world is found on the back of a horse ... and if you were to ask a South Tyrolean, they would probably add: on the back of the Haflinger horses, as this indigenous breed is an animal of calm and generous temperament. These fox-colored beauties with their silky white-blond manes and friendly big eyes are for this region the breed of horse par excellence. After all, the Haflinger horse itself comes from the Alpine countryside.

For over a hundred years, this proud animal has shaped the lives of the inhabitants of the Tschögglberg plateau. To this day, it forms part of the traditions and customs of the area. The origin of the Haflinger horse is not directly in the village of Avelengo, but in Sluderno/Schluderns in upper Vinschgau Valley. The first Haflinger was born there in 1874 from the stud of the horse breeder Josef Folie, the colt 249 FOLIE.

Today, the good-natured and reliable Haflinger horses are known far beyond the country's borders. With their extremely good-natured temperament they are ideal for beginners, as they tend to remain calm. Powerful and sure-footed, they are also ideal for riding in the countryside. This is why Norbert from the riding stable Sulfner in Santa Caterina/St. Kathrein likes to take his Haflinger for rides in the area.
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The origin of the name Haflinger has different explanations. This all-terrain and rugged mountain horse was formerly popular with farmers and traders from Avelengo as a pack animal, used to transport grain from the mountain to the valley and wine from the valley to the mountain.

Many places in the second half of the 19th century were accessible only by mule tracks, either on foot or with the aid of horses. At the same time, Merano/Meran slowly began to develop into a spa town. Tourism flourished and the aristocrats visiting the city noticed this horse, which the farmers from Avelengo carried heavily laden up the mule tracks. This is how the term Haflinger became known over time.

Today the Haflinger horse is a reliable family and leisure horse, ideal for the South Tyrolean mountain landscape. Haflingers are also used for skijöring and gallop races, which have a long tradition in the Alpine region. These good-natured blondes have many fans in South Tyrol and beyond.

50 years ago, the Sulfnerhof in Avelengo was the first riding stable in South Tyrol to offer rides with Haflingers. Today, 17 of the total of 30 horses are used for riding, Including many Haflingers. Like Franziska the reliable, Lisa the diligent, the two oldest Haflingers, Babsi and Vicky, and Nelli, the star among the younger ones.

When a ride is scheduled, your guide Norbert takes precise care: all participants must demonstrate in advance that they can ride a horse correctly. The risks are not to be underestimated, and one must have certain skills and 100% concentration. Last but not least, even the horses must enjoy the ride, which is important for Norbert.

For children from the age of seven, for beginners and advanced riders alike riding lessons and guided laps are offered at the Sulfnerhof. For toddlers, Norbert offers rides with the two ponies Jonny and Lilli.

A highlight for both small and large guests is a carriage ride. In summer, the Haflinger coach takes guests to one of the nearby mountain pastures, while in winter, take a horse-driven sleigh through snow-covered nature. An unforgettable experience.
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