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The German Reitpony, also known as the Deutsches Reitpony or the German Riding Pony, is a relatively new breed, compared to some horses in Europe that have a recorded history going back thousands of years. Only four decades since the breed was first conceived, the breed is already considered the standard when it comes to Sport Pony registries. But interestingly enough, the German Reitpony is a work in progress. Other horse breeds are still being infused into the German Reitpony's lineage, even though the breed has achieved official recognition.
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As Germany began to recover after World War II, much like was the case in the United States, the country was faced with an economic boom, which produced disposable income and increased leisure time. This was especially true with Germany's youth. It was at a 1965 pony breeder's convention that it was suggested that a larger pony breed should be developed to meet the need of the growing amount of children who were interested in riding competitions.
The first attempts at this were quite unsuccessful. It was 10 years on when the large-scale importing of British ponies, most notably the Welsh pony, really launched the Reitpony breeding program. These larger British ponies were then bred to Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Anglo-Arabians. It was around this time that the breed began to be recognized in the various regions of Germany. The program was a success. The breeders successfully developed a larger pony with a temperament to work with children in sport competitions.
Attempts were made in the 1990s to improve the breed. Several more horse breeds were used to try to strengthen the German Reitpony stock, including the Hanoverian, the Holsteiner, and the Trakehner. However, this attempt did not work. In this trial period, the all-important pony qualities were lost in the attempts. Today's reputable breeders are using only certain bloodlines to create a consistent German Reitpony. These breeders are still actively trying to create a stable line of ponies that has the capacity to compete with similar athleticism of a small Warmblood.
Even though breeders have created a stable German Reitpony bloodline, and stringent tests must be conducted on current breeding stock, outside horses are still being used to strengthen the breed. And, it's still the Welsh ponies and Arabian horses that are still being added to the mix to help solidify the German Reitpony line even further.
The success of the German Reitpony breeding program has lent itself to be a model for other similar breeding programs. In Great Britain and the United States, sport pony registries are cropping up, due in large part to the German Reitpony. It was even laid out by the Sport Pony Division of the International Sport Horse Registry that the breeding goals for this new classification would be "to produce a noble and correct pony with dynamic, spacious and elastic movement - well suited for dressage, hunter classes, show jumping, eventing or driving because of its temperament, character and rideability. It is a riding and competition pony for kids and young riders and an elegant driving pony. The breeding goal is similar to the breeding goal of the German Riding Pony."
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