November in Schliersee is really the month of the horse. I thought since we just had Leonhardiritt, the religious procession celebrating the blessing of the horses, we should take some time to discover some interesting information about a couple of the amazing breeds we have here in Schliersee.
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a breeding farm in Austria on the day that the magnificent Haflinger stallions returned from their summer in the high pastures. This breed is truly spectacular. Bred not to far away in the southern Tirol part of Austria, the Haflinger is a warmblood horse known for being efficient, sound, strong, sturdy, and willing. A multi-talented horse, it is commonly used today in dressage, endurance riding, general riding, jumping, mounted athletics, racing, and obviously pulling carriages for historical processions like Leonhardifahrt.
For me, the Haflinger’s coloring is what makes them truly stand out. They are reminiscent of a doe with pale chestnut colored bodies and bright golden manes. I find them to have such great spirited characters. Though they are on the small size they are a horse and not a pony. While at the breeding farm I learned some very interesting tidbits of information. This Tyrollean breed has Arabian blood in them and it is believed that they are all related to one Arab-pony cross named Folie. That mix of blood gives many of these horses a very Arabian style head. They seem to love showing off and being the center of attention.
And on the complete opposite side of the horse characteristic scale, you will find many Kaltblut or Coldblooded horses here in Schliersee. Cold-blooded horses encompass the draft breeds such as Percherons, Shires, Clydesdales, and Belgians. Large-boned and heavy-bodied, these horses were developed to use in draft and agricultural work, and were selected for a calm temperament.
One of my favorite things to see in the early mornings just behind our beloved Leonhardi chapel is when Langerbauer farm lets their horses out of their stalls. The horses seem to store up energy in their powerful legs during the night and just can’t wait to release it exuberantly. Dashing elegantly across the wide pasture one by one. Sharing in their joy and beauty if only as a witness is an incredibly way to start your day.
To see these horses for yourself and even take a ride, make sure to visit some of our beautiful local farms. Many of these farms rent lovely rooms where you can experience life on a Bavarian horse farm. They are also just a stones throw from our alpine lake.
American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).