In the early seventies many Australian breeders headed to Britain to import Welsh ponies and saw for the first time the beautiful and elegant British Riding Ponies.
First to take the plunge and import a stallion in 1973 was Helen Clift of Gunnedah in NSW who purchased a son of Bwlch Zephyr. This was Aristocrat of Flawforth, who was out of a TB/Welsh mare Chirk Catmint, and he soon made his presence felt winning champion led and ridden Galloway stallion at Melbourne Royal, at that time the only section in which he could be shown.
Shortly after two sons of Bwlch Valentino came to Australia, one, Treharne Talisman, to the Redpaths in Victoria and the other, The Laird, to the Baileys in South Australia. Unfortunately, Aristocrat was killed by lightning before he had a chance to really exert an influence in Australia although several of his sons and daughters have bred on. The other two stallions however produced a type of pony which appealed to many breeders and show exhibitors. When Riding Pony classes were put on at Melbourne Royal and then at Adelaide Royal interest grew rapidly.
Many Welsh B ponies were coming into the country and with the ponies, thoroughbreds and Arab derivatives already here, breeders sought out the Riding Pony stallions to start breeding the new type.
The Society begins
The Australian Riding Pony Stud Book Society Inc in Australia. had its humble beginnings in 1975 when a group of enthusiastic people banned together to promote this widely versatile riding pony. Through their persistent efforts Show Societies throughout Australia were encouraged to run classes for riding ponies and slowly but surely these remarkable ponies found their way winning championships and supreme of show sashes at major shows throughout the country.
The newly formed Society, implemented a set of regulations which allowed for a foundation section which required at least three crosses of animals from approved breeds before a pony could be entered in Section A., the highest classification and the only one to which colts or stallions could be recorded.
Provision was made for Approved stallions of the recognised foundation breeds to be recorded and a Appendix was opened for mares of bigger breeds than ponies or ponies which grew over height.
Originally there were four sections – Section D was for mares with no known breeding and this has now, with the foundation firmly established, been discontinued. Section C is for ponies with one known parent or progeny of a section D mare by a registered or approved stallion. Section B is for ponies already registered in another approved stud book or the progeny of a C mare by a registered or approved stallion. Section A is for imported Riding Ponies or progeny of a B or A mare by a registered or approved stallion.
As the Society spread and formed branches in other States, the regulations were adapted and modified. Originally all ponies had to be classified and certainly in the early days this gave new members a very good idea of the type required, but as numbers and distances grew it was decided in the late eighties to abolish classification and let the show ring and the market determine the standard.
Further imports quickly followed the original ones. Today most of the major British and New Zealand bloodlines are represented here. Other Zephyr sons imported include Carolina’s Cats Whiskers (Aristocrat’s full brother), Sun Puff and Rosevean Gale Force.
Zephyr’s grandsons include full brothers Rotherwood Acrobat and Rotherwood Windswept, both by Solway North Wind and very successful sires of show ponies. Among Zephyr’s great grandsons is the three quarter brother to the above two, Rotherwood Footlight and two sons of Rosevean Eagles Hill (by Bwlch Hill Wind) in Pendock Silver Eagle and Rosevean Sea Eagle as well as the Hill Wind great grandson Syon Splendour.
The Welsh B sire Solway Master Bronze figures in the pedigree of many good Riding Ponies. Treharne Talisman is out of his full sister and he is the grandsire of Rosevean Master McGredy, sire of the New Zealand imported in dam stallion Heatherbrae Master Aladdin.
He also figures in the pedigree of Willowcroft Vagabond, a successful sire son of The Laird and the important Rosslayne Blue Peter.
But probably the greatest Solway Master Bronze influence is through his grandson Keston Royal Occasion, a Welsh B who has sired numerous winners since his importation to Australia and whose Riding Pony imported grandsons, Janinos Little Joker, Syon Royal Portrait and Fairly Temptation are proving excellent sires.
Keston Royal Occasion is also a grandson of Downland Chevalier whose breeding appears in that of the imported stallion Small Land Mascot, his son Small Land Amarillo and grandson Sarnau Victory and in many of the Welsh B mares that have bred successful Riding Ponies.
The successful part Arab sire Whalton Touch Of The Blues has two sons in Australia, Courtland Boy Blue and Jackets Bluebird and there is also a grandson of Whalton Sunny Rapture in Rendene Rising Sun.
In recent years imports to our shores have included Falconhurst Reprise (by Lechlade Quince out of the Wembley Champion Rosslyn Sweet Repose), Repose’s full brothers Rosslyn Remember Me and Deanhills Glad Tidings. Another son of Quince, Westhill Standing Ovation is now in Australia.
Bringing the bloodlines of 4 times Wembley Pony of the Year winner Holly of Spring are Camargue Tribute and his son Pendley Gold Cup.
Fairley Tempest, sire of another import Fairley Temptation resides in Victoria.
Victoria has several imported stallions standing at stud. There’s Sufton Romany Lore (out of the Wembley Champion Rosevean Gypsy Moth) and carrying the Cusop bloodlines is Wedgnock Coffee Pot. Ninfield Minks Supreme (son of Wingrove Minkino) is there too. Son of the well known Sandbourne Royal Ensign, and out of Bradmore Nutkin, Deanhills Benjamin was also imported to our shores.
Australia now has good representation of all the best British bloodlines and the use of Artificial Insemination has introduced even more.
As well as the stallions mentioned above, there have been many good mares imported to Australia representing the top British Bloodlines.
1996 and Onwards
In 1996 the Committees in all states elected to run under a Federal Body with delegates from each state elected to represent their respective states at Federal meetings held twice yearly. The Federal body endeavours to hold Annual General Meetings around the states in order to meet members and listen to their suggestions.
The management structure was changed in 2007 to become Riding Pony Stud Bok Society Limited (Limited by guarantee), with Directors being appointed by each State Sub-committee.
Members of the Riding Pony Stud Book Society Ltd. are therefore members of a National organisation with funds directed to the National body for membership and all registrations, transfers, leases etc. The National office then directs funds to each state committee for management in their state. It is an obligation of each state committee to run shows, seminars and any education days to better inform all members. Our panel judges are encouraged to participate in seminars to keep up to date in all areas of judging. We hope always to provide ways and means to encourage and inform members and maintain a high image in the show and breed world.
The Society has established National Championship Awards and National Medal Awards to encourage members to actively participate at shows. State Committees sponsor classes at Royal and Agricultural Shows and the National Body donates to the Champions and Reserves at both the Equestrian Federation of Australia and National Show Horse Council Horse of the Year Events.