The Landais is a small breed of pony from southwest France mainly in the area of Pau. The Landais was believed to be developed by crossing a native French horse with an Arabian around 732 AD. In the early 1800s the breed roamed wild but was pushed into small herds by the drying of the swamps and forest harvests. The pony remained in the wild until after WW II.
During the war, many ponies were killed by mines, hunted and caught to sell, thus reducing the population of the breed. Automobile usage increased causing many ponies to be killed by vehicles and the remaining Landais were extracted from the area. Some of the ponies lived with other livestock and wildlife near the Adur and Luy rivers in Landes.
At the beginning of the 1900s, there were around 2,000 purebred Landias, but the events during the war and after WW II, they began to be crossbred, this caused the population to be decreased. In 1988, Arab and Welsh stallions were used to repopulate the breed. In 2008 genetic studies focus on the preservation of the Landais and four other French breeds.
By 2010 the majority of the breed was located in Pau with some in Paris, Brittany, Aguitaine and the Midi-Pyrenees. An average of only 56 foals were born per year between 2000 and 2011.
The head of the Landais is small with a straight profile and broad forehead. The neck is muscular and long. It has pronounced withers, sloping shoulders, a short, wide back and a sloping croup (rump). The coat is always bay, chestnut, black or brown and the Landais stands 45 to 52 inches high.
The Landais is a good trotter and is used for a variety of tasks. Driving, show jumping, eventing, dressage and as a family pet. Landais was bred with Arabians and various other English and French ponies to produce the French Saddle Pony.
Image Caption: Landais Pony. Credit: Eponimm/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)