Noriker, the modern Austrian cold blood horse with tradition
The Noriker horse has been bred in the Austrian Alps and foothills for about 2,000 years. It originally comes from Thessaly where it was bred as a heavy war horse and then later taken over by the Romans.
When the Romans advanced over the Alps this horse came into our region and was then bred further and formed by the landscape, climate and terrain into a cold blood mountain horse. About 400 years ago breeding, which until then had been rather haphazard, gained a stricter control under the influence of the archbishops of Salzburg. A stud book was created, breed selection rules decreed and stud farms and stations constructed.
Pure breeding of the Noriker became a principle. Environmentand usage formed the breeding goal and developed the Noriker to what we prize today. The Noriker is a product of the Austrian Alps. In the valleys and slopes of the Alpine meadows the old Roman legion horse became an adaptable, frugal and poised horse with cold blood character.
Its employment in the alpine landscape required the strict pursuit of a breeding goal which can be summarised as: “Breeding of a healthy, middleweight, noble mountain cold blood horse with harmonious width and depth, sufficiently strong bones and joints, with correct ground-covering and elastic gait, agility and surefootedness, frugality, diligence, endurance and will to work, quiet temperament and sure in terrain.” These qualities describe today’s Noriker which can strong character – agile – hard-working – powerful – handsome
be defined as a multi-purpose and hard-working leisure horse with an excellent character.
In the course of time the breeding of the Noriker has established itself on the most valuable bloodlines; the Vulkan, Nero, Diamant, Schaunitz and Elmar lines.
The colour variation in the Noriker breed is unique. There are equal numbers of black, bay, chestnut, brindle, grey and leopard. The ideal size of a Noriker is between 15.3 and 17 hands high. At the moment there are approximated 10,000 Noriker horses in Austria and the breeding area has more than 4,600 registered stud mares.
Today the Noriker with its size and weight, its phenotype and temperament represents a horse that fulfils to a high degree all the requirements of a modern leisure horse.
strong character – agile – hard-working – powerful – handsome