The German Riding Pony – a history of the breed
The German Riding Pony was developed in Germany around 40 years ago. The aim was to develop a
pony with movement that is correct and rhythmic with elastic and expressive gaits as well as having a pony with a sound temperament and ride-ability. A very important component is that the pony has the athletic ability for national and international competition and that they could be easily ridden by a child or small adult in the performance arena.
Using the same principles as Warmblood horses, the German’s began their breeding program with imported Welsh and English ponies to be bred with various breeds of European ponies. They were infused over time with Arabians and Thoroughbreds. Trakehner and Hanoverian sires were also used to improve the breed although care was taken in the selection of crosses so as to not lose the pony type. They are now an established breed with the ability to excel in Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping. These wonderful ponies have a true willingness to perform and unmatched powerful movement.
In Germany they have developed a rigorous testing system that begins as foals with inspections and awards given to the most exceptional individuals. Mares then go on to be inspected at around the age of three and are entered into studbooks depending on their quality and bloodlines. The highest quality mares are performance tested and can achieve the title of State Premium Mare (StPrSt). Stallions are also inspected at the age of three or four and if successful, they will go on to complete a thirty day performance test to be given a full breeding licence and be placed in the studbooks.
Of course the ultimate aim for breeders is to breed ponies to meet the international height of 148cm or under but like other pony breeds they can grow over height. They are still considered to be a German Riding pony and if crossed back to the right pony mare with the correct genetics they can still produce a superb German Riding Pony. Over height GRP’s can still compete successfully and make fantastic mounts for small adults.
In Australia the introduction of the GRP breed will give our young riders a fantastic start to their equestrian career, given that they have so much athletic ability and powerful movement, the transition from pony to a big moving Warmblood will be a much smoother one. They also possess the temperament and ability to prove themselves as children’s mounts in all aspects of equestrian sports. In Australia many small adults are discovering the joy of riding and competing a smaller mount and the larger and over height GRP’s are ideal for these riders.
Although the breed is in its infancy here, the imported stock we now have is proving to be top quality with fantastic bloodlines and proven performance. At the time of writing we have around 12 stallions and 8 mares imported from Europe, so only a handful of quality ponies. With careful selection these ponies will make their mark in Australia. We also have quite a range of frozen semen available to us from Europe. It is hoped that breeders will carefully select their Australian bred ponies for suitability to the fabulous selection of stallions.
Pictured above L to R Dornik B, FS Don't Worry, FS Champion De Luxe
Pictured below L to R Nemax, Golden Dancer, Red Diamond B