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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Pony crosses filling gap in dressage mount market

ABOVE: Penmain Make No Secret is by Secret and out of a Penmain Posh daughter.

ROSSANNE Mason is not only a horse lover but an astute business woman as well.

She was one of the first to see the expanding interest in dressage ponies and with her own Riding Pony stallion Penmain Posh and the imported Dutch Riding Pony stallion Triple Trees Prince Perfect bred a number of high-quality ponies performing in Australia and New Zealand.

However, Rossanne noticed there was still an area of the sport that was being ignored.

People wanted something larger than a pony but were finding the big Warmbloods difficult in several ways.

“I know for myself, as a mature smallish woman, I would have liked a horse around 16hh with the Warmblood movement, but not so wide,” she said.

“Really big horses mean you need a bigger float, bigger rugs … trying to throw a big rug over a 17hh Warmblood on a windy day means you wind up covered in a tent.”

The other problem she noted was that when the big horses were startled, or simply said no, it was a long way to the ground if you lost an argument with them.

“So, as I already had two brilliant pony stallions, I began to see I could breed a medium-size dressage horse with really good paces and a steady pony brain.

“I was encouraged when Charlotte Dujardin’s 16hh Dutch Warmblood Gio won bronze at Tokyo. Granted she’s a magic rider, but it showed you don’t have to ride a giant to do well.”

ABOVE: Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Gio's medal-winning test.

So Rossanne began crossing in two ways, using the pony stallions over Warmblood and Thoroughbred mares, and using quality Warmblood stallions over the daughters of the pony stallions.

“I am so very pleased with them,” she said.

“They are generally in the 15.2hh to 16.1hh range, which is manageable for older riders and have the true paces and flair for ambitious youngsters.”

What’s important is they have the paces needed, but also the calm pony brain and pony soundness.

Several are now five years old and out competing and doing well, with Rossanne being asked if there’s any more at home in the paddocks.

“I really set out to do this for myself, but I am finding that there is a definite calling for the quality “sports car” version of dressage horse,” she said.

“Not everyone needs a big Rolls Royce.”

ABOVE: Rossanne Mason riding the stallion Triple Trees Prince Perfect.

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