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About Hackney HorsesAbout Hackney Horses

Hackney (also known as Roadster) horses have a long history. William Youatt, writing in 1838, considered the Road Horse to have developed into the premier English breed. Its essential role was as a working harness horse developed for relatively fast transport on improving roads – as its original name implies. This is reflected in the 1838 woodcut (right) which shows both a signpost and a milestone in the background.

However, the Hackney type was evolving long before this – principally in Yorkshire. References as early as the thirteenth century speak of “Fayre trotting horses” and advise that mares to breed from should be “strongly made, large and fayre, and have a trotting pace ...” (‘Fayre’ [fair] in this context meant ‘kind and gentle’ – in other words, with a good disposition.)Early publications stress that the Hackney was bred for work, not for fancy.

A Hackney Stud Book was first published in 1884, and a Hackney Horse Society was formed. Subsequent to this, a Hackney pony was developed and recognized as a separate breed.

With the advent of Railroads, and at a later date cars, Hackneys like most horse breeds declined rapidly in numbers, but the breed was kept going by fanciers who made them fashionable in the show ring.

Content and Photo Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz )

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