Hackney joins rare breeds list

  • The British Hackney horse (Mother Stud Book) has been recognised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) as endangered, bringing the total number of horse and pony breeds on the trust’s list to 13.

    “We are extremely pleased to have this recognition,” says the chairman of the Hackney Horse Society, Roger Bass. “Hopefully, we will now benefit from the initiatives afforded to rare breeds, helping to raise the profile of the British Hackney. It is a historic breed: the stud book dates back to 1884.”

    The number of foals registered by Britain’s Hackney Stud Book has declined over recent years, and the economics of breeding has also meant a marked reduction in the number of breeders.

    The society hopes that the new endangered status combined with passport legislation will lead to owners using a horse or pony’s registered name in show catalogues, thereby giving the breed and breeder more recognition.

    The endangered status only applies to the mother Stud Book and not the daughter Stud Book, which embraces Dutch Hackneys.

    The Hackney pony has not been included on the list, despite its numbers being thought to be similar to the Hackney horse.

    The Hackney joins the Fell and the Exmoor in the “endangered” category two, which indicates that there are fewer than 500 registered adult females of the breed. The only breeds considered more at risk — “critical” — are the Cleveland Bay, the Eriskay and the Suffolk Punch. Other breeds on the list are the Dales, Dartmoor, Highland, feral Welsh section A, Clydesdale, imported Irish Draught and Shire.

    “The RBST welcomes this opportunity to help conserve the Hackney horse,” says Dr Saffron Townsend, the trust’s technical advisor, “although it is a shame that such a well-known British breed should now need to be classed as rare. With only 28 filly foals registered during the last year, the population will require close monitoring over the next few years.”

    For more details, visit: www.hackney-horse.org.uk (tel: 01985 840717) and www.rbst.org.uk (tel: 02476 696551).

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