Noriker Horse Breed – Profile, Facts, Photos

Passionate horse lovers know that horses come in a wild variety of sizes, colors, temperaments, and uses, and they’ve learned to love each breed for its uniqueness and authenticity. Nothing expresses the impressive variety of the equine world than the Noriker horse.

Unlike other breeds like the Spanish Mustang, the Shagya Arabian, or the Akhal-Teke, which operate among similar standards, the Noriker is entirely different.

While the former breeds share extensive physical similarities like medium-sized and athletic bodies and slim necks, the Noriker takes it one step further. This is a giant among horses, capable of reaching twice the size of an average horse. But what truly makes the horse unique is its ability to mix its massive frame with the elegance of a ballerina.

History and Origin

The Noriker dates back 2,000 years ago in Thessaly, Greece. The breed’s origins can be found in the Celtic kingdom, specifically Noricum, a Roman province.

Romans had a reputation for building war horses that could withstand the harsh conditions on the battlefield. The Roman legions always needed strong and resilient horses that won’t scare off easily and could prove immense stamina and strength.

The Noriker filled that gap immediately thanks to its outstanding size, strength, and unbreakable resilience. It also didn’t hurt that the breed was peaceful, calm, easy to train, and enjoyed interacting with humans. This made the Noriker breed one of the favorites of the Roman army.

Subsequently, the Noriker’s uses diversified over the years, as today it’s most well-known as a horse fit for working, dressage, hunting, endurance, polo, and many other activities.


The Noriker is different than most breeds since it’s among the few to combine raw power and size with the agility and endurance of smaller breeds. Here are the overall characteristics to know about this breed:

– Size and Height

The Noriker stands at around 16.2 hands which translates to 64.8 inches. This makes the horse slightly taller than most breeds which, combined with the bulky and powerful body, makes it look like a true giant.

The Noriker also has a low center of gravity, solid and thick neck, broad and deep chest with visible musculature, and short and powerful legs. The horse brings a more compact look with massive muscles, typical for a breed roaming mountainous areas.

– Weight

The Noriker revolves around 1,500 pounds which is about 50% more than other breeds. Combine this with the horse’s natural strength, and you have an outstanding specimen with a vibrant presence.

– Colors

The most widespread colors for the Noriker are black, chestnut, and bay, but they also come in blue roan, tobianos, and overos, among others. A noticeable and unique feature is the leopard pattern that some Norikers display, whether it’s the white and black, dalmatian look, or any other color combination.

– Speed

Although the Noriker isn’t built for speed, it can still pull off an average of 25 mph. It isn’t necessarily something to be proud of, but it’s not a shameful achievement either. This breed’s native playground consists of mountainous areas, which means resilience, strength, and stamina are its most noticeable traits.

– Temperament

The Noriker is among the calmer, more docile, and friendlier breeds. Despite its imposing appearance, this horse is one of the gentler animals you can find, and overall pleasing and peace-lover with an affinity towards working with humans.

I recommend getting a Noriker if you want a loyal and friendly horse that you can ride recreationally and spark envy in your friends and coworkers.


With proper care, nourishment, and an active and healthy lifestyle, the Noriker is expected to reach 30 years of age and beyond. On average, the horse will live around 20-25 years, which is common to many breeds around the world.

Diet and Nutrition

The good thing about the Noriker is that it’s a breed familiarized with scarcity. In nature, the Noriker horse didn’t have too much food available. The horse’s native mountains didn’t have much to offer, forcing the horse to live with what it could find.

This means that the Noriker primarily feeds on hay and grains, with little to no need for supplements. This, of course, depends on the horse’s size, health, lifestyle, etc. If you do need to get some supplements, make sure to search for the best ones on the market.


Although the Noriker doesn’t need preferential treatment in terms of grooming, compared to other horses, its mane and tail could use some extra attention. Noriker horses come with rich tails and fluffy manes that often require more extensive care.

Other than that, you should check the horse’s hoofs regularly for infections and bathe it regularly to keep its coat shiny and healthy-looking.


The Noriker covers the entire range of uses that you can find for a horse. These include jumping, racing, equine events, hunting, working, endurance, polo, etc. This is due to the horse’s flexibility in terms of physical capabilities, making the breed that much more appreciated among the connoisseurs.


You should expect to get a Noriker for the average price of $5,000 to $7,000. The price is usually influenced by factors like the horse’s age, physical state, history of disease, pedigree, and so on. You will definitely find cheaper horses as well as more expensive, sometimes significantly more expensive.

Health Problems

No problems to mention. The Noriker horse comes from a strong and resilient breed with very few health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and daily grooming and hygiene should be enough to keep your horse in peak condition.

If you notice changes in feeding patterns or overall behavior, seek professional help to prevent any dangerous health problems.


Workers were once at their peak in the 60s and 70s until the agricultural sector became heavily mechanized. The 80s and 90s saw the Noriker enter a decline as the horse became endangered, reaching less than 7,000 individuals.

The population now revolves around 10,000 or more, with most of them residing in the Austrian countryside. There are many others around the world, albeit not in as high numbers.


The Noriker horse offers the perfect balance between beauty and utility. This is a horse with a lot of potentials and is flexible enough to withstand all weather conditions. It is part of an intelligent, friendly, and easy-to-train breed with a docile and loyal character.

If you’re into the Noriker and wish to purchase your own specimen, this article should provide you with all the insight you need. For additional questions on the Noriker or any other horse breed, comment below or hit the contact form, and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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