Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Riding Pony was developed in the United Kingdom, and was such a success that it is now bred all over the world. They are excellent show ponies, and are classes based on the height and type, hunter classes, side-saddle and in hand classes.
The breed is an extremely elegant animal, more like a small horse than a pony. It has a small head and small, neat ears. They are compact, with sloping shoulders and a narrow front. Their feet are tough and they possess strong limbs. They are well-propotioned with comfortable gaits and free-flowing movement.
The ponies are very calm and willing, making them great ponies for children. They are docile and kind, with an affectionate nature.
There are three types:
- The show pony: super-elegant minature show hack with pony features
- The show hunter: similar to the show pony, but with more substance
- The working hunter: stockier, and more workmanlike
Children's ponies in Britain were mainly of the native breeds, and were used for riding and hunting. When pony classes began in the early 1920s, breeders began crossing Welsh and Dartmoor ponies with small Thoroughbreds and Arabians. From the 1930s into the 1950s, Arabian blood was again introduced to improve stamina and refinement, which included one of the most influential sires, Naseel. The result was an elegant, but small, animal that is now seen in the show ring.
In 1893, The Polo Pony Stud Book was formed, encouraging the breeding of fine riding and polo ponies. By 1899, there were over 100 stallions and 600 mares registered, almost half of which were native ponies. The society chaged its name in 1903 to Polo Pony and Riding Pony Stud book, and again in 1913 to the National Pony Society. Over the years, the native breeds formed their own societies, and the NPS became dedicated to the British Riding Pony. Since 1994, foreign-bred ponies were placed on a separate register.
In America, the Pony of the Americas developed in the 1950s, while in France, the Poney Francais de Selle (which was bred similarily to the British Riding Pony) developed in the 1970s. The French version is more of a useful all-around pony club type, and less refined.
Since the 1950s, the Riding Pony has been exproted across the world. In Britain, the NPS runs many classes for Riding Ponies, but it is the British Show Pony Society and Ponies UK that hold the greatest number of shows.
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