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Use and characteristics of the Australian Pony
Australian Ponies stand 11 hands (44 inches/112 cm) to 14 hands (56 inches/142 cm) high. All coat colours are acceptable apart from piebald or skewbald, but most of these attractive ponies are grey. Their heads are considered very beautiful, with large dark eyes. Show ring quality is an important characteristic for many purchasers who buy an Australian Pony. The breeders who sell an Australian Pony strive to produce a pony with excellent conformation, smooth paces and a good length of stride. Their necks are long, with a suggestion of crest, sufficient to give an attractive line.
Origin and history of breeding Australian Ponies
The foundation stock for the Australian Pony was predominantly British, although the earliest influence was rather unusual. The first horses arrived in Australia in 1778. The earliest ponies to arrive, in 1803, were from Timor in Indonesia, an old type which probably ultimately descended from Mongolian horses. Timor ponies have always been admired in Australia for their excellent natures, hardiness and frugality. They adapted well to their new life. Later, ponies were imported from Britain, including most of the well-known Mountain and Moorland breeds such as Shetlands, Highlands and Welsh Mountain Ponies. Galloways from Scotland were also shipped to Australia. Exmoors, Hackney Ponies and Connemaras were used in the development of the Australian Pony too. Certain stallions were recognised as making a significant contribution to the breed. These included two Exmoor stallions, Sir Thomas and Dennington Court, which arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. A Hungarian stallion named Bonnie Charlie, said to have arrived with a circus, was influential in the same period. In 1911, a Welsh Mountain Pony stallion named Dyoll Greylight arrived. He was sold to Australia from Wales for £1000, which represented an enormous sum of money at the time. This sire would be very important to the development of the Australian Pony, providing an impetus towards the establishment of a distinctive type by the 1920s. The Welsh Cob Little Jim, who also brought Hackney lines into the breed, was influential in the early twentieth century too. By 1931 the standards of the Australian Pony were established along with a stud book containing three sections, for the Australian Pony, the Shetland and the Hackney. Later, all other Mountain and Moorland breeds would have their own sections in the book. Today, the influence of the Welsh Mountain Pony can clearly be seen in the Australian Pony, yet it remains a distinctive type created by diverse ponies from several regions.
Australian Ponies in equestrianism
Australian Ponies enable young people to participate in a range of equestrian activities from eventing and show jumping to driving and showing. They are popular at Pony Club Australia events. Like the Pony of the Americas, the Australian Pony is a breed that represents an opportunity for the young people of the nation to experience the spirit of equestrianism.