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Haflinger horses in the first snow of the year

During my last Explorer Tour I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, to photograph Haflinger horses in the snow.

Haflinger horses in the snow

It is a common tradition to keep Haflinger horses on the high pastures of the mountains during the summer months, together with cattle and goats. The winter in the mountains starts early and already in September the high pastures can be covered in snow over night.

 

I travelled through South Tyrol in the end of September for my Explorer Tour through Italy, with the goal to capture some autumnal shots in the mountains. But we were surprised by snowfall in the night and in the next morning I was lucky to witness fresh snow in September, whilst the horses were still up in the mountains. I was at the perfect location at the best time, because the horses were brought back down to the valleys within the next week.

I am one lucky girl 😎

I can count on one hand how many times I was lucky enough to have fresh snow + sun + top location + Haflinger horses in this combination. But I did not expect that I would be blessed with it already in September 😇

Transhumance as common tradition

Transhumance is a traditional practice that has shaped much of the landscape in the Alps, as without it, most areas below 2,000 m (6,600 ft) would be forests. While tourism and industry contribute today much to alpine economy, seasonal migration to high pastures is still practised in Bavaria, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. In some places, cattle, horses and goats are taken care of by local farmer families who move to higher places. In others, this job is for herdsmen who are employees of the cooperative owning the pastures. The animals live in high pastures for a summer from June to October depending weather conditions and altitude. They are allowed to roam free on a vast area, usually don’t have any shelter but what the landscape offers in trees and rocks. The German language knows a few words for transhumance like “Almsommer” or “Sommerfrische”. It is a popular way to bring up the young stock, so they can develop their character, social behaviour, instincts and sure-footness. 

Haflinger in the snow
During my last Explorer Tour I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, to photograph Haflinger horses in the snow.

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Haflinger in the snow
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