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.


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


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.


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.