Nonius breed information
Nonius horse general information
COLORColours are chestnut, dark chestnut and black.
SIZENonius horses stand between 15.1 hh (155 cm) and 16.1 hh (165 cm).
USESThey are used today in agricultural work, light draft and the sport of combined driving.
TEMPRERAMENTNonius horses are also known for a kind, even temperament and great willingness and capacity for work.
Close line breeding during the breed's establishment and continued use of a closed studbook have contributed to a recognizable and reliably-transmitted type in the Nonius. The vast majority are black, or dark bay or brown, either unmarked or modestly-marked with white. Bay individuals are more common among the Nonius horses from Hortobágy.
The breed is also known for the heavy but proportional head with a convex profile called either a ram's head or Roman nose. The breed exhibits traits common to heavy-boned driving and light draft horses: powerful and arched high-set neck, broad and muscular back, open but powerful loin, deep and sloping hindquarters. The chest is broad rather than deep, and is usually more shallow than the hindquarters. The hooves and joints are large and the legs are dry.
Today, the breed has two types; a heavier, draft horse and a smaller, lighter strain that is more suited to work in the saddle. They are also being crossbred with Thoroughbreds to create calmer sport horses that are strong and fast but also patient. Outside Hungary, purebreds can be found in Romania and Serbia.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian Imperial Armies captured several young stallions from a French farm at Rosiéres, including a light-chestnut Anglo-Norman stallion called Nonius, which was assigned to Mezőhegyes in 1816. Nonius Senior was kept there for 17 years from 1816, during which time he mated with 368 mares, resulting in the birth of 79 stallion and 122 mare foals. Of his descendants, 15 colts studded for a total of 100 years in Mezőhegyes. Beginning with the foundation of the Nonius Horse Breeders National Association in 1989, the farming of purebreds and gene protection have once again become the defining objectives.
Nonius fun facts
The popularity of driving sport in Hungary rose sharply during the 1970s and 1980's. The Combined Driving World Championships are held every 2 years, and the most competitive event features teams of four horses. Of the 6 champions named between 1974 and 1984, all but one were Hungarian. The Nonius is slower and less suitable for other riding sports like dressage and show jumping than lighter horses.