The Nonius (Hungarian: Nóniusz) is a Hungarian horse breed named after its Anglo-Norman foundation sire. Generally dark in color, it is a muscular and heavy-boned breed, similar in type to other light draft and driving horses. The breed was developed at the Imperial Stud at Mezőhegyes, Hungary by careful linebreeding.
The breed originated in 19th century Hungary. During the Napoleonic wars, several stallions were captured by the Austrian army in France. A specific stallion, Nonius Senior was transferred to Mezohegyes, Hungary where he mated with several mares, setting the foundations for the Nonius breed. The breed has Arab and Lipizzaner influences. During the Second World War, the breed became almost extinct. It did however manage to recover and in 1989 the Nonius Horse Breeders National Association was formed.
The Nonius horse is a warmblood breed of Hungarian origin. Although a compact horse, it is quite muscular with a strong bone structure and well proportioned. It has a large, proud head with a Roman profile, gentle eyes, alert ears and wide open nostrils. The neck is thick and arched. This is a strong horse, with powerful, rounded hindquarters, muscular shoulders and sturdy legs. The back is short and arched and the chest is wide.
Nonius horses are gentle natured, even tempered animals. They are hard and willing workers, intelligent and easy learners. They remain calm even during stressful situations and are energetic when the circumstances demand it.
The horse is mainly used for agricultural and light draft work. Apart from that, Nonius can be used in many activities. They are fit for sports, especially hunting, eventing and show jumping. They have a lively, active pace and make good driving and riding horses.
Nonius horses are used to outdoors life as they either work in the fields or compete in sports. It is essential for them to have access to a large open space where they can exercise and graze. They require, like most horse breeds, a regular and balanced diet and lots of water. Frequent grooming will keep their coat spotless and free of parasites.