German Riding Pony
The German Riding Pony or Deutsche Reitpony was bred by crossbreeding Welsh ponies, Arabians, Anglo-Arabians and Thoroughbreds. The breeding began in Germany in 1965 for use in child riding competitions. Initial attempts to produce a pony breed with Fjords and Haflingers proved unsuccessful. When Welsh breeds were added, the German Riding Pony became a distinct breed by 1975.
In the 1990s an attempt to improve the pony with Trakehner, Hanoverian and Holsteiner blood was unsuccessful by losing some of the qualities gained in previous breeding. Today’s breeding is done with specific bloodlines and the horse or pony must pass inspections before being used. Welsh and Arabian ponies are still sometimes used.
The German Riding Pony is fairly new to the United States and only one registry is allowed to conduct inspections of the breeding stock.
The characteristics of the German Riding Pony are similar to that of a horse but with a pony-like head. The pony is small, being 53 to 57 inches high.
It is bred specifically for children and adolescents to be used in dressage and show jumping competitions. The German Youth Championships, the European Championships and the “Pres der Besten” are all tournaments where children up to 16 years of age compete using the German Riding Pony. The taller ponies are used to compete against full-sized horses at CDI FEI-sanctioned competitions.
Image Caption: German Riding Pony. Credit: Sara Landvogt/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)