I have been repeatedly told that it's all about "the quality." I've even been told by a few judges now, USEF rated, that on a 'pony' you are out there bare as bones and there is no hiding ANYTHING. On a larger horse of conventional dressage breeding and nice gaits, you can hide and get away with quite a lot. People who are advising their clients on what to buy know this and know they need to weigh the risks and the benefits of obtaining stated goals.
I thoroughly agree with this--it is about quality (and horse-like gaits). And also size/body depth and harmony between pony and rider especially when you are talking about adults riding ponies. That being said--I love riding my homebred ponies--there is something extra special about that.
RE size--our the same 15.3HH mare was bred to the same 14.1 HH stallion 3x--only one pony in the bunch. My experience with maidens is that they can throw smaller, at birth--but that doesn't necessarily mean small adult. I think the pony market is still appeals to a very specific group--just like Welsh or Connemara or ?? appeal to a specific group.
Actually the "smaller first baby" is based on my observations of my own herd over the last 20 years. Examples Baby#1 16.1, baby #2 17.2 - same dam and sire. Baby #1 15.1, baby #2 17.1, baby #3 17, baby #4 17.1 same dam all sires 16.2. Baby #1 15.2 baby # 2 16.2, baby # 3 16 at age 2 same dam first sire 17.1, second sire 16.2,
I don't say that this is necessarily a rule but it seems to be pretty consistent for my herd. I can only recall one mare out of over 20 whose first baby was one of her largest. Others may have a different experience.
While that may be the case with your herd, Daventry is correct in that research has shown that while the first foal typically is born small, they mature to normal size. Obviously, there will always be exceptions to the rule - after all, it is a horse and they do everything possible to prove us wrong - but fortunately or maybe unfortunately, it isn't the norm.
I always joke that it must be the water on my farm, but I have sort of disproved many of the beliefs traditional pure bred pony breeders have had with my GRP breeding program. First, I have ussualy had first foals that are smaller. This includes foals I have purchased as well that were first foals. Science may not back me up, but my foal crops have. Not 100%, but more often than not. I also tend to get foals smaller than other breeders predict. I have yet to breed a foal that matured oversized. That includes two crosses to a 15.2+hh WB mare bred to 13.2hh Mardi Gras. I have had several mediums that on paper should have been larges. I am guessing the filly I bred this year will go oversized...and maybe her brother from the year before...but time will tell. They are out of a 15.2hh NF/Trak mare and by my 14hh GRP stallion. I was hoping for oversized with both those. This year I bred Burberry to a fabulous 16hh Rubin Royal x Donnerhall mare. I can't wait to see that hony
I definitely don't call it an "Old Wives Tale" because so many of my fellow breeders have had it be fact that the first foal is smaller. Now of course there are exceptions to every rule and that may be what some folks here are seeing.
At Otteridge Farm we've been breeding ponies since 1972 and we're putting almost 41 years of experience out there to back our statement.
Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver, Equine Insurance Specialist
I agree with Kathy. First foals are usually born smaller but there's no correlation between birth height and mature height in horses (and people too). Mature size is all about the genetics of the sire and dam.
I think there's definitely a market for ponies and oversized. There are some pony breeders near me that sell their foals by weaning each year (~ 8 - 10 foals).
When our first daughter outgrew our pony, we looked quite a while for a large but had no luck. Friends of ours were looking for an oversized or hony at the same time but they also found the market was very small. We both ended up with horses because there were so many more to choose from at the time (7 years ago).
Last edited by woodland cottage; Dec. 15, 2012 at 02:02 PM.
I am considering breeding my three year old Oldenburg mares to pony stallions for their first foals. Since first babies tend to be smaller anyway I thought I would try for smaller to begin with. I would want to sell the resulting foals as weanling as I do not have a teeny tiny trainer to start them later. Two questions: how is the market for pony foals, and how on earth do you part with anything so cute!
I bred my 15.21/2 Hanoverian mare to a 12.2 Welsh stallion. Lovely filly was the result and she got an 8.2 on gaits last year at the ISR Oldenburg inspection. The problem is people will want you to say absolutely the baby will not exceed 14.2. She string test 14.2 but I won't swear it is absolute. She has the best brain with warmblood movement. Good luck
I always joke that it must be the water on my farm, but I have sort of disproved many of the beliefs traditional pure bred pony breeders have had with my GRP breeding program. First, I have ussualy had first foals that are smaller. I have yet to breed a foal that matured oversized. That includes two crosses to a 15.2+hh WB mare bred to 13.2hh Mardi Gras.
I think Mardi Gras is only 13 HH though...and he is a direct UK import, so is going to have smaller bloodlines (height wise) than breeding to most American-bred Welsh stallions. I would have no problems breeding a 15.2 HH mare to Mardi!
Just as an FYI, it's breeders around the world who realize the first foal doesn't always end up the smallest in height. This has been disproved in Warmblood breeding for years. It isn't just a pony breeder belief