COMMON HORSE BREEDS
|HACKNEY HORSE AND PONY
Europe - England
Photo supplied by the American Hackney Society Inc.©
It is not entirely clear where the name Hackney comes from, but it is
believed that it originated from the old French word haquenee, "an ambling horse or
mare especially for ladies to ride on". It may also be related to the old Spanish
hacanea and the old Portuguese facanea. In the 14th century the word was Latinised in
English as hakeneius.
The Hackney originated in the late 17th century as a descendent of the famous English
trotting horses, the Norfolk Roadster and the Yorkshire Trotter. The Hackney Pony was
developed during the second half of the 18th century by Westmorland breeder Christopher
Wyndham Wilson who used a variety of pony breeds, especially Fell ponies, as base mares
crossing them with the handsome Hackney stallion Sir George, foaled in 1866 and standing
at less than 14hh. Other breeders followed his example and a breed with real pony
In the second half of the 19th century the high stepping action, the Hackney is famous
for, was developed when it became fashionable to drive elegant, showy carriage horses.
This action was partly inherited and can be refined by training. The Hackney Horse Society
originally recommended a height of 14.4hh which was later reduced to 14hh.
Head: small and convex, small muzzle, large eyes, small ears
Neck: fairly long, well formed
Shoulders: powerful with low withers
Body: compact body, deep chest
Legs: short, strong limbs; well let down hocks
Feet: well formed
Color: mostly dark brown, black, bay or chestnut
Height: limit for ponies 14hh; horses 15 to 15.5hh
Temperament: kind, alert
Qualities: elegant; high stepping action
Hackneys are popular around the world in the show ring as
carriage horses where they are sometimes driven in a three horse combination.
Photo supplied by Australian Pony Stud Book Society (APSB) ©