About 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 )