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Horse Breeds
First Posted Aug 4, 2009
Sep 18, 2010

English Riding Pony

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Country of Origin: Great Britain

English riding Pony


Arabian, Thoroughbred and British Pony blood was crossed to develop the English Riding Pony in the United Kingdom. These ponies are now bred all over the world. When pony classes began in the early 1920s, breeders began crossing Welsh and Dartmoor ponies with small Thoroughbreds and Arabians. 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 changed 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. From the 1930's 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. The base stock was mainly Welsh, Dartmoor and Arabian. The United Kingdom and Ireland are, today, the major stud producers for English Riding Ponies.

Physical Description

The English Riding Ponies have a refined head and ears. They are compact, have sloping shoulders and a narrow chest. They are well muscled with a well proportioned hindquarters. The tail is set high. The hooves are strong, open and of equal size. There is no feathering at the heels. The limbs are strong and properly angled. Their gaits are comfortable. The ponies tend to be 12-14.2 hh at the withers. Colors include bay, chestnut or gray to a lesser extent. The only colors that are unacceptable are skewbald and piebald. These ponies are intelligent, brave and forward moving. The English Pony can be a handful.


Competition in the show ring in three height divisions: 12.2 hh, 13.2 hh, and up to 14.2 hh. There is the Working Hunter Pony (The working hunter: stockier, and more workmanlike), the Hunter Show Pony (similar to the show pony, but with more substance) and the Miniature Middleweight Hunter (miniature show hack with pony features). the ponies are shown sidesaddle and in hand classes.

Other Useful Information:

In America, the Pony of the Americas developed in the 1950s, while in France, the Pony Francais de Selle (which was bred similarly to the British Riding Pony) developed in the 1970s. The French version is more of a useful all around pony club type, but less refined.

For More Information:

All Breed Database
Riding Pony Studbook Society
The National Pony Society

Horse Breeds