A solid bay hackney pony showed up at the salebarn last night and stood out quite a bit. He had his mane and forelock roached, ears and muzzle clipped, and his tail was bobbed.
He was shod on all four. He broke above level when he trotted in hand, parked out on the lead, and was said to pull a 4 wheel cart. Shown. He had flawless conformation and had excellent manners.
He had been given to a popular dealer who said he gets lots of horses from the same breeder who unloads them fast when she decides they don't "win at world." He did not have any papers, I am assuming to hide the person who sent him.
He sold for $80.
Last edited by enjoytheride; Aug. 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM.
IMHO nothing better than a hackney except TWO hackneys !!! That being said they are "hot" and super fun ~ but one needs experience and guidance from a professional trainer to ensure safety * if one has not been involved with hackneys. After the show ring I retire mine "home" to drive through the woods and around the property BUT I have driven them my entre life in the show ring and at home. I do have several ponies that I do not drive unless I have someone here to supervise for safety issues ~ they are EXPLOSIVE and require regular work = they thrive on work . Hackneys have hearts of gold and you will really enjoy them BUT they are like - well an analogy - border collies they need a job or they can be naughty ... just put a hackney with a trainer and allow the trainer to evaluate the pony and get you two together before venturing out... Hackneys are Wonderful ~
Last edited by Zu Zu; Aug. 29, 2010 at 11:28 AM.
As ZuZu said: they are high energy because unlike most ponies they thrive on work. They won't quit. Sounds like this guy was a harness pony - cobtail possibly. Too bad you couldn't get papers on him. Unfortunately, like Arabs, unless you get into a high end show stable they are a dime a dozen.
Last edited by Rayman421; Sep. 6, 2010 at 06:48 PM.
I too have a sweet little hackney pony. I bought him as a coming two year stallion who had no idea he was a horse let alone a stud. He was raised by two older gentlemen who had mostly big drafty types and this little guy ran loose with the dogs when he was first weaned. He was living with a mini-donkey in a dirt pen when I first saw him. He was so damn cute I bought him. Fast forward several years- he was promptly gelded and then broke to drive (and he rides too.) He is not shod for the high knee action and is totally "au natural" so he moves like my welshes in the past did. Truly a people pony; follows me everywhere to see what I'm doing. Whenever anyone pushes a wheelbarrow down the pasture to the "far away" manure pile, he comes running to get directly behind the wheelbarrow pusher and follows very closely. If they jog, he jogs. If they stop short, he halts just as quick. We all swear he thinks he's driving us for a change...truly the cart before the horse!
The Hackney horse and Hackney Pony are breeds I've had life long association with. Nearly every childhood photo I have has a Hackney in it!
The Hackney Pony is quite separate from the Hackney Horse having developed later in Westmoreland (now Cumbria) by a Mr Wilson in the 19th Century. They started off being called "Wilson Ponies".
Their development was inspired by the Hackney Horse but there's a huge difference in the breeds used to get their type. From the start of their development it was about breeding a pony with real "pony character". Fell poniess and Welsh Ponies were foundation stock to hone in on. Each one chosen for it's outstanding presence and action but also hardy. They ought to thrive and live out on the Cumbrian fells. That's very much how the breed started and the breed standard and type of the best is just the same nowadays.
They should be 12.2 to 14 hands and the look should be quality and small horse but with pony characteristics (so small neat ears etc).
They do very well at showing because of their temperament and disposition. They are VERY extrovert and outgoing and FULL of ponytude. Think fun and fast and agile and athletic and pretty.
There's supposed to be straight, flashy, free movement with good high knee action and power and drive coming from behind. The look is to be poised and elegant though rather than speed.
A development in some parts that I personally find awful is REALLY over-exagerated high knee action and then a flick and it's more all up and down and no forward propulsion. That's disliked by breed purists.
The knee action should be high but there's got to be forward not just all up and down.
This tendency to breed those with over-emphasis of the high knee rather than all round quality has led to them being used less so in other driving activities such as CDE. Which is a shame because that's absolutely what they are able to do in terms of if they're true to type.
I love Hackney ponies. They are like potato chips... you can never have just one. I had a 48" road pony, but would love a cob tail. There was a beautiful cob tail with flank roaning that the owners drove to a dog cart with beautiful turnout at one of our local shows, and it was so stunning.
But, yes, they need a job or they will.. well let's just say, they need a job!
Hackney Ponies are hands down my favorite breed. So. Much. Fun. I dream of ponies on green shavings in Freedom Hall. Brave, forward thinking, game, full of personality. The pony came across, enjoytheride, was shown in the Hackney Pony division, aka Cob Tail. There are 4 divisions in which Hackney show in harness, Hackney Pony, Harness Pony, Pleasure Pony and Roadster Pony.
Both Hackney Ponies and Harness Ponies are shown in a breastcollar harness with liverpool bit and side check to a viceroy or miniature side rail buggy. They do no have to walk at all in their classes, they show at a Park Trot in all of their classes, and in open classes you are also allowed to "Show Your Pony" where you may choose a different speed than the park trot if you thin it is beneficial to your pony. Junior exhibitor's, amateur's, ladies' and gentlemens' ponies must back.
Pleasure Ponies may be any size under 14.2 hands, must be shown with a long unbraided mane and may have a cob or long tail. They must be shown in a breast collar harness with a snaffle bit, side or over check, and running martingale optional to a 2 wheeled basket cart. These ponies are shown at a flat walk, pleasure trot and road trot and must back. These classes are only for exhibitors that are either junior exhibitors or have their amateur status. Here is an example of a Pleasure Pony http://www.benttreefarm.net/Albums/H...es/Aragorn.jpg
Roadster Ponies must be under 13 hands must be shown with a long mane and tail, and wear a ribbon braid in their mane. they are shown with a breast collar harness, snaffle bit, overcheck, trotting boots and an optional running martingale to a road bike. They are shown at a jog trot, road gait, and to the counter clockwise driection of the ring only, which they go second, oppposite of most ring classes, they trot at speed. Trotting at speed is as fast as possible without breaking form. The truly knowledgeable judge will penalize a pony that moves too much like a Harness Pony in a Roadster class. Here is a Roadster Pony http://www.heartlandhackneyfarm.com/.../victory_1.jpg Road Pony video http://www.clubequestrian.com/videos/watch/1827.aspx
So there really is a division that most any pony can fit into based on their size and way of going.
Unfortunatly the Hackney Pony market is very weak at the bottom and into the middle of it, so local/regional quality ponies can be gotten for a song, where top ponies from the same breeders may sell for 6 figures. Well not completely unfortunatly because it is very easy to get into showing Hackney Ponies at the local/regional level because decent, well trained ponies can pretty easily be found, especially if you take lessons and establish a relationship with a trainer before you go out shopping.
I love my Hackney pony! He is retired now at age 29, and not doing so well physically, but he remains cheerful and silly and loving, and tells me every day that he's not ready to go yet.
I got him at age 22, retired from what I hear was a stellar show career. He's on the small end of the scale for Hackney ponies at 12.2HH, but there was an amazing amount of energy inside that little body. He's always been the Energizer bunny, and is still mad at me for retiring him in January of this year. He was at the point that he couldn't even pull the cart empty (tried this just so he'd feel like he still had a job).
When I first found him, I was looking for a pair of minis to drive. I was new to driving (had been taking lessons for a couple of months), but not at all new to horses. The trainer who taught me to drive was helping me shop for the minis, and when I bought a Hackney instead she was horrified. She was afraid he was going to kill me.
But I was able to get him slowed down enough that he started enjoying our rambling drives around the neighborhood, and got most of the spookiness resolved. My trainer said she was very excited at the progress we'd made, and quite willing to eat her words.
I am still thrilled to see him highstepping across the pasture just because he feels like it. He still has a gorgeous trot and is impossibly cute and huggable. My husband uses him as a test for horse sitters--if they don't fall in love with him, then they are not truly horse people.
I'd loff to have another one. They are fast, fizzy and fun!
Thomas, being overseas, may not be terribly aware that Sterling Graburn is getting rolling with a very nice Hackney pony four in the CDEs.
All that said - if I were an absolute beginner at driving, a Hackney pony would NOT be my first purchase, especially not if it came from the breed show ring. They are too game and too quick. Best to learn from a more solid citizen first. Even the oldest Hackney pony in the world (believe me, the one I briefly had was very aged indeed) still has more "go" than anything else on four legs!
Still, I do hate to hear of them going for $80 at the sales. If you have a mind to do a nice pony a favor, then by all means go for it! You may in fact find that it has hidden talents: my old 32 y/o pony, when we got him home from the sale, would happily have spent HOURS on end galloping around the quarantine paddock and JUMPING a fallen log in there that came about to his chest! He jumped it nonstop for about half an hour - never missed his distance, never got closer to it than 2 feet above! We had to limit his turnout - he was having TOO much fun out there for an old pony.
"Adding Idle Dice to a jumping string," remarked USET Coach Bert DeNemethy, "is like adding Secretariat to a racing stable."
War Admiral, I totally agree that a Hackney pony is not a good choice for a newbie driver, but somehow we did fine. He certainly got my heart racing quite often, but we always came home together and undamaged. I think because I already had extensive horse experience, it was OK. I knew how to read his body language and be ready for the explosion that inevitably came. ("OMG!!! it's a killer mailbox! They eat ponies! Run for your life!") My biggest challenge was reining him in when I was laughing at his silliness. I wouldn't have given up my six years driving him for anything.
Now I am driving our bigger pony of unknown breed, who is probably Welsh (at least as far as I can guess by looks). It's an interesting contrast as this pony has far more muscle and strength, but is very laid back in harness. I never expected this when I started training him to drive as he is quite neurotic under saddle and is so frequently in the pasture. He gets stressed over things the other horses ignore at home, yet he is so steady when driving. If we encounter another horse and it melts down at the sight of the cart, this pony just sighs, stands where I ask him to stand, and you can hear him thinking "what a knucklehead!"
Now, I would not have wanted to take lessons on my Hackney. I got to drive a nice steady Arabian who belonged to my trainer when I was learning.
I know many a Hackney that can easily clear 4' fences that barely stand 12 hands themselves. There are many, many Hackney ponies that look like small TB's in hand, and have NO front end motion (without the big feet/shoes) that would make lovely children's hunters/jumpers.
Between those and the ones with the motion I think Sport Pony breeders are missing a big opportunity to infuse some talent and refinement into their breeding programs for dressage and jumping.
Not many kiddos can handle a Hackney Pony much less a younger one. They are a trial by fire as I found out when I was training one. He was a stunning example of his breed and very well bred. He was also one of the smartest, quickest, most stubborn ponies I ever had my hands on. He was originally trained to drive but they wanted to use him as a pony for the grand child. Yeah no, that didn't go well at all. He cleaned up as a leadline pony but once off the line he was far too much pony for the kid to handle. I wouldn't want to cross them with anything, honestly they are perfect the way they are. Either you can handle them or you can't and I really like them that way.
Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
Originally Posted by alicen:
What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.
Trying to come up with a viable Hackney cross for sport pony purposes would be a much more appealing proposition if we had honest-to-God 4Realz Pony Jumper divisions in this country. I could see a typy sporty Hackney cross being quite successful in that. But since we don't, it's sort of just a theoretical question on my part!
"Adding Idle Dice to a jumping string," remarked USET Coach Bert DeNemethy, "is like adding Secretariat to a racing stable."
My Hackney was always fine at being led around with a little kid on his back, but I was never foolish enough to put anyone small enough to ride him on his back on their own. People used to ask me if my daughter rode him. She was light enough for the first couple of years I had him, but I never, ever let her ride him. She's too heavy now and he's too old, but even if he could take her weight, I wouldn't allow it even now. That little dude is nuts!
Hey guys don't forget the Roadster Pony Under Saddle classes! despite popular belief, the ASB world does have as many hot game junior riders as it has Hackney ponies and those kids will show in the Roadster pony class on those little suckers. It's a hilarious class to watch. The kids all don racing silks and do the same gaits as the Roadster pony to bike class but in a cutback saddle and a snaffle and martingale. It is so hilarious to watch how some of the kids really bear down and grit their teeth. They are often hanging on with all they have and zing zing zing around the ring they go.
At the barn I work at nearly every Hackney Pony we have had here is broke to ride and has been shown road pony or pleasure pony under saddle. Some of the pleasure ponies have been taught to wear a full bridle and have also been shown by 10 & under kids in walk & trot saddle seat equitation. They certainly are rideable, you just have to teach your kiddos to be game, good riders.