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Large Pony/Small Horse for the... ahem *Mature* Adult to do dressage and trail ride on

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  • #41
    Originally posted by WannabeDQ View Post

    New Forest Ponies are bred to have gentle natures that are appropriate for children with the added benefit of being very sound and athletic. Perhaps meet an actual New Forest pony before judging?

    I also love the GRP, some can be a little hotter but they are also better movers than the NF pony. I’m tempted by a filly at Solomon Farm, glad to hear you had a positive experience with them!
    I did meet an actual New Forest pony. I discussed him above, from the very breeding program you mentioned. He was out of a mare from known difficult wb lines, but was hot, spooky, and lacked self preservation so was almost constantly injured in some way from doing something stupid. That's the example I've known from the breeding program you cited, so I commented that I don't agree. That's all, each of us has individual evidence in for of or in favor of a particular breed.
    Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
    you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


    • #42
      Originally posted by exvet View Post
      This is my Morgan.
      Gorgeous example of the breed!
      Thank you! He really was quite handsome and well proportioned - though not fancy by today's standards. He was out of Windon Snow, who was a very well known and desirable stallion in 1970's and 1980's. But his lineage would be very, very far back on pedigrees these days.
      ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


      • #43
        I have to brag on my fjord, I never thought I would be such a fjan of fjords. I bought him to be a driving prospect and to trail ride on and he has been all that and more. We are just really starting his driving career, we've done one driving trial, had a bunch of lessons, been deemed suitable to move up to prelim next season (skipping training)...

        But I also do ridden dressage. Originally just to help with the driven aspect, but he's a lot of fun and moderately talented, so now I plan to do the breed and pony cup stuff as soon as driving season winds down. I started him in Training last spring, did a few local shows to save the $$$ and in August (our last show) I thought what the heck, I'd try First 1 and see where we are even though his lengthenings are not "Netflix" (on demand) just yet. Still, he managed a few 7s on them and scored a 63+ on his first time out, so I am more than pleased.

        Also, you wanna go trail riding in the mountains? No Problem. Cross the Etowah? No problem (OK parts of that are challenging since I had to lift my toes on the 16'3 hand horse when the water is high). Go off to SoPi 2x a year and jump him? No problem, even though that is the ONLY time he jumps. Period.

        And he has so much GO, honestly, it's like riding one of my TBs except (to be honest) you need more upper body strength. And even though he isn't a draft type fjord, I'm 5'8 with longer than average leg and he's 14'1+ and I am forever surprised that the ground comes up so fast when I get off. He rides just like a horse.

        And from what I understand haffies are not like fjords. Haffies are ... well, known to be a touch single minded. I mean all ponies are going to have a pony moment, it's why they are ponies (and if it is a well trained pony, chances are that pony is making the smarter decision than the human in the moment). Mostly Fjords really want to be a partner in whatever crazy idea their humans have. Is dressage challenging to them with their body build? Yup, it can be. But if you want to do a wide variety of things and have a lot of fun and make sure you get one with a less drafty build, it's worth the challenge!

        But mostly everyone who meets him falls in love because he is Totes Adorbs.

        You want to driven dressage? I got that.

        Cones? He's got some trot (I'm really not too concerned about his lengthenings ).

        Handy turns in the derby? Balanced turns? Check and check

        Trail riding? No problem. Go out on the foundation and find some fun jumps, realize your pony only jumped once and that was the last time you were here 7 months ago. Not a problem.


        Last edited by DMK; Nov. 13, 2018, 10:33 AM. Reason: fixed link
        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


        • #44
          Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

          I did meet an actual New Forest pony. I discussed him above, from the very breeding program you mentioned. He was out of a mare from known difficult wb lines, but was hot, spooky, and lacked self preservation so was almost constantly injured in some way from doing something stupid. That's the example I've known from the breeding program you cited, so I commented that I don't agree. That's all, each of us has individual evidence in for of or in favor of a particular breed.
          No, you met a WB/pony cross out of difficult WARMBLOOD lines. Sounds like they tried to improve temperament with pony blood and it didn’t work. Please don’t bash the breed based on something that isn’t even a purebred!


          • Original Poster

            DMK, thanks for chiming in about your Fjord. He's adorable! And looks like tons of fun.
            Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
            Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


            • #46
              Look for the horse, not the breed. I own a 15.2HH TB/Han cross, out of my TB mare. She's adorable and a bit opinionated but never wants to toss me, just throws her head around to object to my instruction. She is light to the leg, enjoys going fast but is VERY rateable. She is a pretty pretty princess in dressage, and eats up the jumps. Her ears are almost constantly forward while being ridden and seems to really enjoy doing things.

              My trainer sold a 15.3HH mare that had some conformation related difficulties in dressage but very much a trier and a metronome to the fences. She was a hard sale because she was small, a TB, a cribber. Her new owner recently won a Championship at a rated hunter show. Same owner bought a very nice little TB mare as well, that was much more green but great personality. She wanted something to bring along while she had fun on the other one. (Side note - once people started seeing this older, adult amateur cleaning up at shows they were offering twice the money the owner bought that first mare for).

              We also have a nice little TB gelding looking for a long term lease - bit green in the arena but a superstar trail horse and a quick learner. He does need someone who is going to be in charge - not that he needs much but if you act like a TOTAL passenger (think ranke beginner on a school pony), he's going to try to protect you and that means being jumpier about weird noises/things/sudden movements.


              • #47
                For good temperament and sound-mindedness, I second the quarter pony (Welsh/QH) suggestion. IMO they combine the best of both breeds in a medium sized package. My mare would be 14hh if she had withers , but as she does not, she measures around 13.2hh. Her girth amply takes up my leg (I'm 5'4"). She has a lovely floaty trot and canter, a good working attitude, and she's just a pleasure to be around. The schoolmaster pony at my former trainer's barn was also a quarter pony, and trainer had been offered $20,000 for him at one point. He was a fixture at her barn, and she declined to sell. FWIW, like other crosses, some look more like Welshies, some like QH's, and some a mixture of both.


                • #48
                  I can't imagine seeking out a pony for the sole fact that it would be absolutely cost prohibitive in my area. I'm low-key pushing my 11yo towards horses instead of a large pony as she's outgrowing the medium. I'm 5'2'' and she's almost caught up with me. I have people offer me nice prospects and solid schoolmasters in need of minor maintenance for free all the time. But ponies? Ye Gods. $20K for an unbacked prospect. No, thank you.


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by WannabeDQ View Post

                    New Forest Ponies are bred to have gentle natures that are appropriate for children with the added benefit of being very sound and athletic. Perhaps meet an actual New Forest pony before judging?
                    I’ve met hundreds. Lived on the outskirts of the forest for many years backed and brought on several at that time.

                    The actual original UK New Forests are a very mixed bunch indeed! As would be expected from semi-feral herds of ponies roaming freely. The ones I’ve mostly worked with had come straight from the drifts although we were occasionally gifted a lane creeper or two if they’d been causing issues (they’re the ponies that leave the more remote areas of the forest and end up in more populated areas and either cause problems or end up becoming one of the many road fatalities each year )

                    Most were clever, tough, hardy little critters but not particularly ‘quality’ in any way. The breed standard is very broad as they come in such different types depending on what stallions have been running with the herds. One of the commoners had obviously gone through a ‘spotty’ phase as they sold for a little more. I ended up with one from that stallion, a 12.2 spotty MULE (they also have herds of semI-feral donkeys roaming the forest. Also pigs - always fun coming across a massive herd of those out hacking ).

                    The only ones I’ve seen that I would choose as dressage prospects have been Dutch NFs, bred from handpicked exported stock and not representative of the breed I know. I’m guessing the US based ones run along similar lines.


                    • #50
                      Just popping in to say that, following the Mustang Magic Competition, Rebecca Bowman’s draw seems to be coming along quite nicely. She’s located in Atlanta, so you might be able to arrange a visit, transport, etc. depending on where in Georgia you are.


                      • #51
                        FatCatFarm , I know of a weanling Conn/TB/ID cross in our area that's for sale. Dam was a Intermediate ** horse. Sire is Megan Harris's stallion. Guess at this point is that he will finish 16.0 or less. He's gray and super cute.

                        FYI: I bought a KWPN mare that didn't grow to meet the height minimum(15.3 hds) for their Mare Performance Test. I think from their point of view she;s a cull; but she's exactly what I was looking for.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the suggestions, but if I go smaller, I would prefer to stay between 14 and 15 hds, and not 15.2 - 16hds. Rivendell Connemaras in AL has several nice weanlings and yearlings and I would go shopping there for a Connemara or cross. This thread was started more as something to think about for down the road. I really have plenty to ride at the moment. It would have to be a real bargain to make me plunk down money at this point and I really don't want anything older than a weanling because of current riding obligations. Still, lots of good suggestions here.
                          Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                          Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                          • #53
                            I think it really depends on the pony/horse at hand.

                            After re-starting OTTBs my whole life I went the Connemara route. As an AA with a family I just didn't have time for a thoroughbred anymore. Even thought I told myself I'd never buy a horse without meeting it in person I ended up buying a Connemara from Canada. He was 2 at the time and off the trailer seemed flighty and didn't want much to do with humans. This kept on until I broke him at 3 with the help of a friend supervising.

                            Once I started riding him he turned into the ultimate pocket pony. I don't think I'll ever go back to any other breed. He's turned out to be the love of my life horse-wise. He's one of the bravest horses I've ever ridden and a people pleaser. He can have a bit of stubborn side -- but is easily convinced otherwise. I'm 5'2" and he's 14 hands. I finally feel like I am able to communicate and be truly effective with my aids which I haven't felt with the horses I've ridden. Maybe after getting some good habits on him I'll feel more effective on a horse. I'm interested to test this out in another year or so.

                            He's about to sit for the rest of winter but I plan on starting his showing carrier next year in the dressage ring. From what I've seen so far he should be quite competitive.

                            The only tuff thing about Connemaras is they seem hard to find unless you want to go the yearling route.


                            • #54
                              If you're going with a Connemara cross and you'd really like to stay 14-15hh, recommend buying a 7-8yo and not a young horse. There was a breeder near me who was breeding Conn x Hanoverian crosses and ended up with a whole generation of 17hh athletes with some pony 'tude. I know of another Conn x mare that was intended to stay pony-sized but is now easily over 16hh. Based on those examples, I suspect those connemaras have some hidden height.

                              The Welsh crosses appear to be consistently smaller.


                              • #55
                                And another thing! I ditto the quarter pony/hony as suggested below. Lots of options in your size range, fun colors, generally sane*, and they can be legitimately athletic and fun. In my area, there are lots of reasonably-sized good-minded "usin'" horses. I just bought an unbroke 5yo stallion, and within 60d he's now a broke 5yo gelding that is pleasantly WTC under saddle and reliable out on trails. He's probably not the jumper that Fordtraktor's is, though...

                                *Some notable exceptions exist.

                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                My favorite is a good quarter pony/hony. I have a 15 h QH mare and she is just the most fun, tractable horse to ride. Plus she is cute as a button! She is doing lower level dressage easily, though her downhill confo will max her out at some point.


                                • #56
                                  All this talk about large ponies, bringing up so many wonderful memories of my Connemara X and my Morgan... makes me want to go out and buy one! I do not need another mouth to feed, I do NOT need another mouth to feed, I DO NOT need another mouth to feed.... lol
                                  ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


                                  • #57
                                    DMK - Your Fjord is awesome! Have never sat on one but he sure looks fun. And that face.....


                                    • #58
                                      I love posts like this. My first horse was a massive 16.2 hand appendix quarter horse and I always lusted after ponies. As soon as I stopped worrying about peer pressure stuff I went and bought a “project pony” who’s turned into my forever pony.

                                      Shes a 13.2 hand mixed, question mark, pinto pony. She’s brave, smart, and incredibly sensible. She’s hardy but also a princess, and really honest but has a great work ethic. I’ve found that those with a higher percentage of pony blood are sensible in that they don’t turn themselves to hamburger if they’re worried or excited by something. In the 6+ years I’ve owned her she’s only lightly injured herself a handful of times and never been off for more than a week. That’s amazing as an AA with limited time and resources and knowing that I’ll be able to ride and make progress when I go to the barn makes it so much more fun and less stressful.

                                      I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a GRP at some point but honestly I just don’t know if I’d enjoy that much athleticism. Instead, I’d likely go the route of a Welsh or Welsh cross to really keep that Pony attitude and sensibility.

                                      The other thing I love about ponies and honies is that they’re typically pretty hardy. My pony grows tons of winter coat and maintains a perfect weight on grass hay, with a tiny bit of alfalfa, and a handful of supplement pellets in the morning. I also don’t worry about her fitting in stalls and I can trailer her in any size trailer. I’ve even got a bunch of my nicer tack on sale since 18” girths, 66” blankets, and small saddle pads and quarter sheets don’t sell as well so often I find fancy stuff on clearance

                                      Plus she’s pretty darn talented and athletic. She’s solidly at First level and probably would be at Second if I hadn’t pretty much taken this past summer off. We’ve shown once at First, in the rain, and she had to ride through rain puddles for the first time ever. Other than trying to leap over one that was in the middle of our canter lengthening she didn’t put a foot wrong and we scored 63%+
                                      My little girl, Katai - 13.2 Haflinger/Unicorn
                                      and her blog

                                      "Ponies are the new black. Welcome to the darkside!" - Manahmanah


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Ran across a lovely 2yr old Welsh Cob who is 13.3 as a 2 coming 3 year old. His mother is 13.1 and the father, Top Hat Beau, is 15.1. Owner thinks he will likely finish at 14.2-ish as the Welsh Cobs mature late. Any thoughts? Really nice mover.

                                        Also found an adorable weanling 3/4 Arabian 1/4 Quarter Horse who is put together rather nicely and is super reasonable.
                                        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                                        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                                        • #60
                                          I'm so glad DMK jumped in with info about her amazing Fjord. They are the best! When I worked at a therapeutic riding center, they had approx 20 horses and 5 or 6 of them were Fjords. Of course that's a biased sample since they were all therapy horses but I would have taken each one of them home with me. I got to ride some of them and they were hard workers who genuinely wanted to please. My favorite thing about them was that they responded beautifully when asked correctly but they weren't stupid about incorrect aids (they were therapy horses after all). Wonderful, wonderful animals. They can have an attitude but nowhere near the stubbornness of the Haffies I've known (also therapy horses).

                                          Can't go wrong with a little QH either

                                          And you can't mention dressage ponies without bringing up Cardi: http://www.eqequestrian.com/cardi.html
                                          Last edited by equinelibrium; Dec. 6, 2018, 05:13 PM. Reason: typo