Alpine Trails to Outback Tales: Haflinger Horse Breeder, Caroline Sinnamon

 

For Caroline Sinnamon, a lifelong passion for Haflinger horses was sparked at the age of fourteen when she first rode a mare named Julia in the picturesque Rhine valley of Switzerland. This pivotal moment cemented her lifelong affinity for the breed which would follow her from the serene landscapes of her homeland to the vast, sun-kissed expanses of the Australian Outback.

Caroline’s childhood memories of riding Haflingers through the changing seasons in Switzerland remain vivid and cherished. From the magical fog-shrouded mornings of summer to the crunchy leaves underfoot in autumn and the fairy-tale wonderland of winter snow, each experience deepened her connection to these golden-haired horses. “Every season brought a new adventure, a new challenge, and a deeper love for these incredible animals,” Caroline recalls.

Driven by her sense of adventure, Caroline found herself at Brisbane International Airport in 1992. Standing in the airport car park, she was surprised by the sight of Wilhelm, a Haflinger stallion from Wintersun, being classified on the concrete. This chance encounter stirred childhood memories that would mark the beginning of her journey into the world of Haflinger horse breeding.

Joining forces with Eve and Barry Paxton-Brown, from whom she purchased her first trio of Haflingers including Wilhelm, Caroline soon embarked on her breeding odyssey. By 1994, she had relocated to a sprawling 1000-acre Angus cattle farm in Dalby, Queensland. Here, Wilhelm sired the first of his 33 foal lineage, marking the inception of Caroline’s stud, “HAFLOZ.” It was on this farm that her children first learned to ride, nurturing a new generation’s love for these tranquil, sturdy horses.

As her Haflinger family grew, so did Caroline’s network within the breed. She sold a Wilhelm filly, Onni, to Maxine Hobbs and sent Strizzi, a mare in foal, to New Zealand. In 2009, Caroline relocated to Sydney with her three mares, Wilhelm, and her own family of four boys. Between teaching at the International German School in Terrey Hills and family duties, she found solace riding her horses on the sandy trails of Ku-ring-gai National Park.

Over the next decade, Caroline embarked on multiple treks through the remote Snowy Mountains, each journey a testament to the enduring bond with her Haflingers, Secrets and Myoora. Traversing rugged terrain, wide valleys, and crystal-clear creeks, she captured breathtaking photographs of her horses encountering distant brumbies and grazing kangaroos against the backdrop of the Australian wilderness.

In 2020, Caroline settled on her farm in the hills of the Wollombi Valley north of Sydney, a region renowned for its stunning landscape, wine, and equestrian culture. The acquisition of the stallion Spartacus, in partnership with Fernances Creek, marked a pivotal moment in her breeding endeavours. Her goal is ambitious yet clear: “To refine and enhance the Australian Haflinger breed, producing taller, more agile riding horses while preserving their inherent tranquillity.”

From the early beginnings in Switzerland, Caroline’s journey with Haflingers has ventured on the path less trodden. Their shared adventures across continents are testament to her dedication as a breeder and connection to the golden-haired horses that have captured her heart. As she looks to the future, Caroline remains committed to preserving and elevating the Haflinger breed, ensuring that these gentle, versatile horses continue to thrive in Australia.

Stephanie Brooke

 

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