Key Characteristics

Hackneys are an elegant, high stepping breed known for their ability to trot at high speed for extended periods. 

  • Today's Hackney horses stand from 14hh to 16.2hh
  • The Hackney Pony stand at around 12.2hh to 14hh
  • Their coat may be a range of solid colours, from chestnut to black and often have some white markings


  • The British Hackney had its origins in the Norfolk and Yorkshire Roadsters (trotting horses) of the 18th and 19th centuries, but is first mentioned in medieval times, 
  • Early Thoroughbred stallions had a great influence on the breed, and the most important foundation stallion was Original Shales - a grandson of Flying Childers, who was never beaten on the racecourse. 
  • Following improvements in the roads during the 16th and 17th century there was an increased demand for carriage horses and the highest status symbol was to be seen out in a stylish equipage with proud high-stepping horses. 
  • The early Hackneys had good stamina, soundness and temperament derived from their trotting ancestry and fulfilled this need.
  • The Hackney Horse Society and Stud Book was formed in 1883, and Hackney blood was in great demand overseas and had a large influence on breeds such as the Continental Warmbloods, especially Holsteins and Gelderlanders.


Hackneys are impressive harness horses, known as 'the ballerinas of the show ring' they excel in show driving events with their extravagant action and elegance. 

Their qualities of athleticism, activity and natural balance make them an excellent cross for ridden dressage and show jumping.

Breed Societies

For more information then contact the Hackney Horse Society