The Noriker horse, also known as the Pinzgauer (original name pinzgauer horse) is a heavier type older horse breed originated from Austria. The Noriker breed comes in a range of coat colors including blue roan, red roan, black, chestnut, bay roan, tobiano and leopard spotted with white patterns. Horse lovers all over the world know this breed for its leopard spotted coat with a Dalmatian-like pattern of white with black spots. Even though they are known to be heavy draft horses, they are still a smaller size than a standard draft horse. They range from 155cm to 165cm in height.
The Austrian mountains are the home of the Noriker horse. It was a popular breed to use for transportation of goods in the alpine terrain and farm work. It was one of the stronger horse breeds in the end of the 19th century and could be used in any weather conditions. Initially, Noriker was utilized to transport goods in the mountains. However their popularity and breeding programs declined after the introduction of motorized vehicles in the 20th century. The population went from 36,000 at its peak to 6900 today. Since the Noriker stud book was established, the Vulcan line is the sire lines that has become the most popular as it was the heavier type draft horse which was more popular during that time.
The price of a Noriker horse will vary between $3,000 and $15,000 but typically falls within this range. The horse's age, color, breeding and training will influence the price. Just keep in mind that baroque horses require extra feed, and costs more to keep.
Cold blooded draft horses are known for their calm and relaxed nature, which makes them extremely versatile horses. These horses are popular because they are not only beautiful, but also sure-footed, robust and hardy horses.
A Noriker's normal colors include bay, white, chestnut, roan, black, and appaloosa. These are its base colors, and there can be white markings mixed with various mane and tail colors. The leopard complex gene caused by the spotted variety is one of the most distinguishable patterns. It is similar to the Appaloosa horse, whose distinct family line can be traced back to five individuals who were given the dual names of Schaunitz, Elmar, Diamant, Volcano, and Nero. Workers are primarily black, bay, and chestnut; only a small fraction of their population are leopards and roans. Male Workers tend to have more and smaller spots if they've had leopard genetics. Many Noriker owners also make them grow long manes to make them look even more powerful.
As mentioned above, the Noriker's popularity in the past was because of its use for agricultural purposes and transportation of people and goods. Because of their heavier weight (approx 700kg) they are not used as fast paced disciplines such as jumping and racing, as they are not as athletic as the warmblooded horses. In present times they are still used for harness driving, general riding and dressage.
This heavy Austrian draught horse breed is a beautiful and unique breed of horse that deserves to be more widely known with its stunning coat colours. They make family horses with their pleasant temperament, harness driving horses or just for everyday trail riding. If you're interested in finding a Noriker horse, make sure you go to a reputable breeder. Finally, be sure to teach your children about the Noriker horse and the importance of preserving their unique heritage.