A friend and I have bred sport horses for more than a decade and have had a few ponies in recent years (the first is just getting to the age to be ridden). We'd like to breed more sport ponies but as the Ontario market is well served by Welsh and hunter pony breeders, we'd like to specialize in German Riding Ponies. Is there a market for well bred ponies for older kids who are experienced riders and petite adults for dressage, eventing, driving as well as hunter? We have several quality warmblood mares (by Voltaire, For Pleasure, Popeye K, Corland) that we could breed to small Welsh studs but I'd also like to acquire a nice large pony or small horse mare to breed to a GRP stallion. What breeds of mares would you think would be the best candidates?
We have one weanling colt in the barn who we'll take to a Weser Ems inspection this year (dam was a small Hanoverian by Mattgold, sire is a black 12.2 HH Welsh Section D). It's early to say but he will be a large at least and perhaps go beyond pony height.
We have two coming in May - one by a 12.2 hh cremello Welsh Section B out of a For Pleasure mare, the other by the same sire out of a Canadian Sport Horse mare. We want to improve and refine our pony program and create our own niche, so any advice, feedback is appreciated.
You might want to talk to Ingrid Matthiessen about your local market she writes here under imajacres. I can only say for our German market but it is hot here for dressage ponies and trained jumper ponies but they have to be within the measure. The top ones (read FEI) tend to sell for not much less than their WB equivalents and the foal auctions are running quite well too. So in a way this market segment appears not too affected with credit crunch and such. I guess Pony folk are even more horse-crazy than the rest of the equestrian community *lol*. I've always had a soft spot for the Welsh and have kept a lovely Nantcol mare who I bred to Caramel for 2013. In my experience foals out of up to height GRP-mares will always sell a bit easier than the ones that are F1 or F2 WB-Welsh crosses (or similar). My specialty are the ones that still qualify for 'real' children yet have all the assets it takes to be sportive on top. In my logic before anything else you don't want to breed anything that's a 'fallout'. That being said I wouldn't necessarily use Voltaire or For Pleasure lines for pony breeding when there are so many well proven Pony-lines out there who have been selected for trainability over decades and generations unless you are breeding for a very specific competitive FEI jumper-pony market which I'm not sure exists in Canada?
I have bred German Riding Ponies (Weser-Ems) in the US for over 10 years and I am happy to share my expereinces. My biggest market has turned out to be the top of the line or oversized ponies for adult amy woman. Mine have sold about 50/50 as dressage and hunter ponies. Although I have doen a couple Welsh/WB crosses, I do much more with the German model and use quite a bit of frozen semen as well as imported and now home bred GRP's.
I would suggest you reach out to Carina Krahn and/or Nicola Wallace -as they are GRP breeders in Canada and stand GRP stallions. Normally to produce a German Riding Pony, that stays within the height regulation, we breed GRP pony to GRP pony. There are some exceptions, especially within the Weser Ems area that do a bit more crossing of GRP approved Welsh B stallions on smaller WB mares. So from my perspective the best candidates to produce a pony that is truely like a GRP pony - is to breed using approved GRP pony mares with GRP approved stallions. Unless you are wishing to produce jumping ponies I would be hesitant to use the bloodlines for the mares mentioned. Kareen makes excellent points as the german ponies have been breeding for decades now with select bloodlines that are able to produce child or AA friendly temperaments with enough movement to be competitive in the dressage shows.
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I am just a small scale breeder. Most of the interest that I get in my ponies is from smaller women (like myself, I am only 5'2), looking for a smaller type dressage warmblood. There is a very good chance with sport pony breeding that they will go over size. I have some young welsh ponies that I will be breeding starting this spring to help keep the size down, but I am also interested in using some GRP stallions from Germany, to cross with them, since that is the type people are looking for. I am hoping to produce large ponies that have big movement, amateur friendly temperments, and are pretty to look at.