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Ponies in Dressage

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  • Ponies in Dressage

    I know probably this has been discussed before, but, what breeds (pony) that is, would you guys considered suitable for dressage? Name a few

    I am pony shopping for my son and .. oh heck, for me too!!!
    Spain won the World Cup!!! Espana! Espana! Espana!

  • #2
    German Riding Ponies are likely your best bet, or a nice Welsh cross... you have to be careful though, as many Welsh ponies tend to be a little too hunter-type. I like Connemara's quite a bit as well

    If you find a NICE Haflinger, they do allright in lower levels. I used to have a Haflinger who averaged scores at around 65% at Training and First level, here are some photos of him:

    He is an "M" line, the other Haflinger line that tends to be nice is "W". I don't really like the "A" line at all.
    Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
    Quality Welsh Ponies and Welsh Crosses bred for sport
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    Section A and Section B Welsh Ponies at stud


    • #3
      Originally posted by Merche2 View Post
      I know probably this has been discussed before, but, what breeds (pony) that is, would you guys considered suitable for dressage? Name a few

      I am pony shopping for my son and .. oh heck, for me too!!!


      • #4
        New Forest ponies, Connemara, Welsh crosses, Euro-warmblood-ponies.

        It also depends. If a really young child just doing intro and having fun now and again, a very steady, reliable older pony that will take care of him is preferable. For a very ambitious, competitive, athletic, older child, a friskier, more active showy pony of the above breeds is a better fit.


        • #5
          Im not sure its so much a question of what breed as it is a question of what Type. Popular pure breeds are Welsh, Welsh Cob, New Forrest, Connemara, Halflinger Horses and all sorts of Cross Bred Riding Ponies (GRP for example).
          Redbud Ranch
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          • #6
            <333 Connemaras! I grew up in HJ land and have managed to avoid becoming a DQ due to being a developing eventer now so my preferences may differ from others...but I like TB crosses as well. I find that a lot of the sport ponies have TB in their lineage that helps refine them more. I have a TBxWelsh ATM and he looks like a mini warmblood. I also vote for Morgans
            "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


            • #7
              A good 14.1 Arabian.
              Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
              No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.


              • #8
                What are your goals and the level of you and your son? Huntery-ish but solid citizens can easily beat fancy but hot ponies without worry of broken bones. Depending on your goals and the kind of experience you are planning to give your son, there are lots of pony options.

                Welsh ponies can make great dressage ponies. Certain families moreso than others. Nancy Hintz at Yellow Rose Dressage trained a "clan" of welsh ponies through the levels and competed a few at FEI. I literally saw her get off a FEI pony in the warmup ring of a show...schooling FEI movements...and hand the pony over to a young kid who was showing training level. The pony totally changed his mode to suit the novice kid. Two or three of her kids and ponies were represented in the Jan Ebeling Jr/YR clinic in Region 9 last year. One was a GP level pony pleasantly doing third level work with a young boy. If you're really thinking Welsh, she might be able to give you some advice on bloodlines (she is an extremely honest and trustworthy horsewoman).

                German Reit Ponies are also a great option but I will go out on a limb and say that many are suited to small adults more than kids. They can be energetic, smart, and waaaayyyyy too much pony for a kid.

                Halflingers can do very well at lower levels and can be very pleasant.

                My friend rides a paint mustang/welsh pony that came from a back yard in NM. She trains him with her 11? year old daughter. This pony is safe and sound and is already schooling upper level movements. She and her daughter show the pony to great success. They found this pony through networking and took a chance to go see him. You never know....

                A small horse in the 15.0 hh and smaller size might be perfect for you and your son, too.
                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                • #9
                  The welsh that Nancy competed were primarily welsh cobs bred by Madoc Welsh. She did take a handful to FEI and earned her gold on a welsh cob stallion, Kentchurch Chime. There is also a welsh cob in the Pacific NW that has taken the dressage world by storm and is currently competing at I1. There are several other welsh cobs currently competing or have competed at FEI. Some are below 14.2 hands though the section D's have no upper height limit. I have welsh cobs competing in dressage ranging in size from 13 hands (section C) to 15.2 (section D). Having said that many prefer the lighter breeds which have been mentioned. Also, I have seen very, very few welsh cobs have hunter like movement unlike the section B welsh ponies. There are 4 sections of welsh. So if you are considering ponies, it's not a bad idea to get to know/understand what the 4 sections are and what they excel at as well as their height restrictions.
                  Ranch of Last Resort


                  • #10
                    Many Morgans are 14.2 hands or under. A nice sport-bred Morgan could be the ticket, depending on one's goals. They are smart and funny and tend towards easy-keeping and soundness, just like most pony breeds.
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                    • #11
                      Another vote from Connemaras and crosses.

                      At the Region III Connemara show this year we had 49 dressage rides, ranging from Intro (LOTS) to 3rd level. There are some well known Connemaras and crosses (e.g., Seldom Seen) that have competed at the very top levels. And there are lots of Connemars happliy carrying kids around at the lower levels. (Some of whom only do ONE dressage show a year, either doing show hunters or not showing at all the rest of the year)

                      The overall comment from the judge was "what a nice group of horses/ponies."

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dressage_Diva333 View Post
                        If you find a NICE Haflinger, they do allright in lower levels.
                        I know somebody who is doing higher level dressage in the UK, and doing wonderfully..

                        Here in Australia, you see more Welsh x's, Australian Riding ponies, New Forest ponies, Connermaras, TB crossed with something else, Quarter Ponies, Arabian-type ponies. Anything really.

                        This is our pony registry: http://www.apsb.asn.au/

                        Really, anything that is the right hight and temperament for him, he should do well


                        • #13
                          We have GRP's and own the GRP stallion Popeye and they are very suited to Dressage and jumping and move like a small WB. We also have GRP/welsh crosses and depending on the cross they have all started well in dressage -- though one is proving to be just a super jumper. We do find that too much Welsh and you might not get as much swing in the gaits.

                          As somone noted the GRP's do move forward but I wouldn't agree that they are all too much for a child. They are bred in Germany to specifically have good temperaments for children. There are always exceptions but that's true in all pony breeds.

                          We've had no experience with Connemara's though they are lovely and have much success in Dressage - the only issue is they do go over pony height more often than GRP or GRP/WELSH crosses.

                          We actually had done well with our "honies" the ones that go over. We have many women who want competitive smaller dressage partners that they can mount from the ground and train themselves. They've done the 17H WB thing and find they don't need a huge horse to be in the ribbons and enjoy their riding.
                          Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                          "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                          • #14
                            Pony Mix! The pony in my sig is 13.2, 1/2 Arab, 1/4 Welsh, and 1/4 Quarter horse and she is awesome!!!! I have also heard that New Forest ponies are great, but really there are SO many nice ponies out there, that you'll have no problem finding a nice one for your son and yourself


                            • #15
                              Mobilehrs (on this BB) has an FEI pony and breeds ponies for dressage. Try PM'ing her if she doesn't respond to this BB entry. Her latest pony baby made me drool - VERY nice. Too bad I'm too tall for ponies.
                              Now in Kentucky


                              • #16
                                Here are a few examples of welsh cobs who compete in dressage. The following two are ridden by my son, daughter (13 & 16) though currently are competed by me. My kids have ridden them in schooling shows and competitive trail.

                                Section D welsh cob who currently compets at Prix St. George successfully (despite being built downhill). He is one of my taller ones at 15 hands. This picture was taken last weekend during a riding lesson.

                                This is a 14.1 hand mare, I'm schooling 2nd level, showing 1st (already qualified for championships). She has awesome half passes and already has her changes.

                                My children are too tall to ride this guy; but, I'm competing him at training level and schooling him at first. I fully expect him to be ready for FEI pony classes late next year. He's a section C welsh cob at 13 hands.

                                Here is one I just backed earlier this spring. He is 3, 14 hands and one I have high hopes for. I plan to start showing him next spring. This is one anyone can do anything with and definitely will be good for both children and adults (he's a tank so can carry even taller adults); but at this time he is not for sale.

                                If you are interested in exploring welsh cobs as an option I can give you some contacts of those who currently have a couple, trained welsh cobs who make it within pony height limits.
                                Ranch of Last Resort


                                • #17
                                  I would say the more mainstream breeds that people think of are the welsh, new forest, grp's etc, but any breed with the right conformation and temperment can do dressage. I have a little 14 hand quarter pony mare who was an unlikely dressage candidate but has turned into an awesome little dressage pony because she will try her heart out to do what is being asked of her.


                                  • #18
                                    Small Arabian (with an abundance of Crabbet breeding) or a Welara... sound, sane, athletic and cute

                                    Arabian dressage pony stallion (14.1 hh)

                                    Welara foal 1 (by the above stallion)

                                    Welara foal 2 (out of an Arabian mare)
                                    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-


                                    • #19
                                      Not a true "pony" breed...rather a small horse....but look into the Colonial Spanish horses. They run from 13:2 to 15 hands and are very Iberian in type...kind of like little Lusitanos. I purpose breed for sport and there are a couple other breeders now that are doing the same thing. They are priced way better still in general than the imports also. The downsides are that they are rare still and it's hard to find one well trained for sale. Lots of nice youngstock around though in the US and many are unusual colors also. A number have been exported to Europe now and now Australia has their first Col. Spanish horses down there now.

                                      Here are a couple of my youngsters to get a sense of what they look like. If you are interested in the breed, I can point you to some reputable breeders also and would be happy to do so.








                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ambar View Post
                                        A good 14.1 Arabian.
                                        I had one of those, and he was awesome. Incredibly athletic and coordinated. Kept him until he passed away a couple yeard ago. He was, however, poster child for the "crazy Arab" stereotype. I've aalso seen some that were saints, very good at packing kids around.

                                        So as with all things, you have to look at the individual, more than the breed. Keep this in mind as I proceed to make some gross generalizations

                                        Anyhow, the first that came to mind for me was Welsh. Mainly because I've seen so many with fabulous kid-friendly temperments. They can be great little performers too, but since so many of them have been bred to pack the kids around, I think that their average personality is pretty steady. And imo, that's a huge factor in keeping kids interested in a sport, having a mount that's fun for them to ride and work with.

                                        If your goals are low-level, or you can find a exceptional individual, I agree with pp that there are a lot of QH ponies out there with great temperments as well, and I've seen a lot of smaller Morgans that were fabulous too.

                                        The GRP's that I've seen have had a lot more flash and wow factor, with a little more aptitude for dressage than your average QH or Morgan, but also seemed like they'd be a bit more to handle. They were very much like small horses.

                                        I've heard good things about the Connemaras, but I've never actually spent much time with one, so I can't comment.

                                        So that's enough of my sweeping generalizations for now. I've seen great ponies in all kinds of breeds, and some really amazing "Mystery Mutt" ponies as well. You'll know the right one when you find it.
                                        Last edited by Wayside; Jul. 30, 2009, 09:23 AM. Reason: typo
                                        "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
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