By Amanda Ciejko
German Riding Pony, also known as the Deutsche Reitpony, was developed in Germany in the late 1960s and 1970s as a sport breed with temperament and size appropriate for children, but with the athleticism to compete nationally and internationally. Specifically, the breed was designed to be like a “mini warmblood” that would excel in dressage, show jumping, and eventing. Any pony with an approved pedigree that meets or is entered into the German studbook requirements can be registered as a German Riding Pony. This is why you may see them registered under the Pfedestammbuch Weser-ems e.V. (Weser-ems Breeding Society), Rheinland Pfalz- Saar International (RPSI), or International Sport Horse/Oldenburg North America Registry (ISH/Oldenburg NA), among others.
Haflingers, also known as the Avelignese, were developed in Austria/Northern Italy, and are easily identifiable by their small stature, chestnut coats, and flaxen manes. The breed traces back into the Middle Ages, with seven distinct stallion lines from the foundation sire, Folie. They are extremely versatile as harness, endurance, vaulting, and dressage horses, and have also been used as therapeutic mounts due to their kind, quiet nature. American Haflingers are registered with the American Haflinger Registry.
New Forest Pony originated on the mountains and moors of the British Isles. The maximum height allowed by the registry is 14.2 ½ hands (or 58.25 inches), and are considered stocky, hardy, and surefooted. They are often used as a working pony, but are becoming more common in show jumping, eventing, driving, and dressage. New Forest Ponies can be registered with the New Forest Pony Society of North America to participate in the USDF All-Breeds Award Program.
Norwegian Fjord Horse is a generally stocky breed with distinct dun coloring and primitive markings. There are no breed registry height limitations, but they are often between 13.1 and 14.3 hands. Originally from mountainous regions of western Norway, the Fjord is one of the world’s oldest and purest breeds- science has proven they were known to exist at the end of the last ice age! Though they are most commonly used as driving or work horses, they have gained popularity as sport mounts due to their size and mild temperament, which make them suitable for children and para-equestrians. Norwegian Fjord Horses registered with the Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry are eligible to participate in the USDF All-Breeds Award Program.
Welsh Pony/Cobs originated in Wales before the 1600s, and are considered a hardy, versatile breed. The breed is broken into four subcategories. There’s the Welsh Mountain Pony, which are under 12.2 hands and generally used as a children’s mounts or versatile driving. Then there’s the Welsh Pony, who are under 14.2 hands and often mounts of children or small adults. Next is the Welsh Pony Cob, who are under 13.2 hands- the rarest of the four but the most versatile as they possess the best attributes of ponies and cobs. Finally, there’s the Welsh Cob, which exceeds 13.2 hands with no upper limit. They are most often seen in the competitive dressage rings. Welsh Ponies and Cobs registered with the Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America, Inc. are eligible to participate in the USDF All-Breeds Award program.