Hackney Horse Horses

Mainly a show horse, the Hackney was a popular driving horse in England and the United States in the late 1880s.


Photo Credit: Bob Langrish


Use: The Hackney Pony is mainly used for showing, and competes in driving, riding and showmanship classes. Some are also used under saddle in dressage. Hackneys ponies are shown in four divisions depending on their size and type. The Hackney Horse can be shown single, pair, four in hand, obstacle, or under saddle. Hackney Horses are also ridden in eventing, hunter/jumper, dressage, English pleasure and competitive trail. Photo by Bob Langrish.


History: The Hackney originated in Norfolk, England, where horses called Norfolk Trotters had been bred for elegant style and speed. Breeders began mating Norfolk mares to Thoroughbreds in the mid-1700s to create the beginnings of the Hackney. Over the next 50 years, the Hackney was developed as a special breed. Vast improvements in British roadways in the mid-1800’s contributed to the development of the Hackney, which was a swift trotting horse. Better roads meant that lighter horses could travel them, and could move with considerable speed. The breed was well-established by 1883, when the Hackney Stud Book Society was founded in England. The Hackney Horse was a popular driving horse in England and the United States in the late 1880s. The first Hackney pony imported to America was brought to Philadelphia in 1878. In 1891, the American Hackney Horse Society was founded. The breed still exists today primarily for show.

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Conformation: Hackneys come in black, brown, bay and chestnut, with or without a facial strip and white stockings. The breed’s small head features a delicate muzzle and ears, and the neck is long and blends into a broad chest and powerful shoulders. Hackneys come in difference sizes and types. The Cob Tail pony is 14.2 hands and under at the withers. They are shown with the appearance of a shortened tail and with a braided mane. Long Tail ponies measure 12.2 hands or under at the withers, and are shown with a long mane and an undocked tail. The Roadster pony measures below 13 hands and shows at three separate trotting speeds: the jog, the road gait, and at speed. The Pleasure Pony is 14.2 hands or under, and is well mannered and a pleasure to drive. The Hackney Horse stands over 14.2 hands. The Hackney breed is known for its distinct movement, high leg action and trainability.


Special Considerations/Notes: Some Hackney ponies have docked tails.

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