Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Hackney Horse

The Hackney Horse isn't the most common of British breeds; it and the Hackney Pony are now on the Rare Breed Survival Trust's Endangered list, which means there are between 300-500 adult breeding mares left. The Hackney, like the even more endangered Cleveland Bay, has presumably lost popularity as carriage driving became a sport rather than a mode of transport.  Here's some film of when there were rather more of them about.

HACKNEY HORSES


and from the 1920s:  Princess Mary presents prizes at the National Hackney Show in Doncaster

NATIONAL HACKNEY SHOW



The Hackney Horse was descended from the Norfolk Trotter (amongst other breeds), which figures large in K M Peyton's historical duo, Small Gains and Greater Gains.  If you want to understand the fascination trotting races held, her books are an excellent place to start.

2 comments:

Fiona said...

Are the Haydon's still going? I seem to remmeber that they also branched out into thoroughbred breeding at their stud. I remember seeing Mrs Haydon driving a team of hackneys at the Yorkshire Show when I was about 11 years old. A stunning sight.
I only hope these breeds & the Cleveland Bay can survive our obsession with the rather dull warmblood "sporthorse".Hackneys are supposed to be good jumpers & I believe a number of show jumpers had hackney blood.
It's sad that the HIS show is mainly warmblood now.

Jane Badger said...

I don't know - I need to have a fossick around and see what I can find out. Maybe the driving breeds' time will come again if petrol keeps on being so expensive. Other than that, I can't, alas, see why they would come back, bearing in mind, as you say, the current obsession with the competition horse.