Abtenauer

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Abtenauer
Distinguishing features Small draft breed
Country of origin Austria
Equus ferus caballus

The Abtenauer is a rare draft horse breed. It is the smallest variant of the Noriker horse, but is very strong despite its small size. Bred in the isolated valley of Abtenau, south of Salzburg in Austria, it is a consolidated population in itself.[1] It is thought that the current population consists of less than one hundred individuals. The origin of these horses are thought to be in abandoned Greek military mounts that were left in the area. Their mountainous home has prevented them from growing much bigger than a pony.[2]

Characteristics[edit]

The Abtenauer has a quiet, willing disposition and stands between 14.3 to 15 hands (59 to 60 inches, 150 to 152 cm) high. Of lighter bone than the Noriker, the Abtenauer breeds true to type and is well adapted to the poor soil on which it lives.

The breed is known for its easy, flowing trotting action. The Abtenauer is elegantly built with a well-shaped head and strong legs. Abtenauers are usually black, chestnut, or blue roan; black is the most common color but all colors are accepted, except leopard spotting which is considered undersirable.

Mares and foals spend the summers in pasture high in the mountains and are fed salt once a week to prevent them from becoming feral. They spend the summer freely roaming the alpine meadows with cattle. Often foals are born with peculiar curly coats that are lost when the baby hair is shed.

Uses[edit]

Because of its agility and good sense of balance, this breed is valuable for work in mountain forests.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hendricks, B: International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, page 3. University of Oklahoma Press : Norman and London, 1995
  2. ^ "Abtenauer". 
  3. ^ Hendricks, B: International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, page 3. University of Oklahoma Press : Norman and London, 1995