With pony dressage really capturing the Australian enthusiasts we see the emergence of specialist breeders and studs who are embracing the challenges of developing purpose bred youngsters that will match the European ponies that move and perform just like a "mini Warmblood"! These are very exciting times and I have enjoyed meeting many forward thinking breeders who have examined the genertic ehind the best German and Dutch ponies and carefully choosing Australian bred ponies - some of which trace back to English, Welsh and Irish lines and this diligent quest to create perfect petite partners for smaller adults and more importantly to give junior riders the chance to feel the big movement and prepare them for moving onto warmbloods at a later time in their riding career.
I spoke with Kirsty Jarvis, the Principal of Dynamik Stallion and she tell how she became interested in German Riding Ponies.
You can find out more about this forward thinking pony stud proprietor at the Dynamik Stallions web site.
Kristy Tells her Story ...
Dynamik Stallions is a German Riding Pony Stallion Station in Western Australia. Primarily we have decided to import these stallions as my personal dressage mounts as I was looking for a smaller sized horse with dynamic movement to suit my petite size. Having ridden up to FEI level, I was struggling to find the right dressage horse for me that did not leave me feeling overmounted.
In 2007 I was campaigning a Danish Trakehner who was 15.3hh at Elementary, Medium Level. He was a super size for me but unfortunately the two young warmbloods that I have purchased and planned to be my next dressage mounts had both reached near 17hh at 3 years old! Personally I like horses with a lot of power and movement, however I feel very unnerved by the power when I feel overmounted. I really did not want to continue on these young warmbloods as I did not feel confident to push them out and embrace the movement.
I started to look at what warmbloods were available in Germany and stumbled across the German Riding Pony Breed, this is where it all started for Dynamik Stallions. After months of research and inquiries to Germany it was a big learning curve, I was very familiar with the warmblood breeding lines but the GRP's were all new to me. I continued to research and contact studs in Germany until I managed to find a collection of GRP stallions to trial for purchase. In August 2007, I traveled to Germany with the aim to buy my first stallion. It was the first year that the Elite Pony Sales were to be held in Germany at Gestuet Kastaniehof. I thought was a great opportunity to see a top quality collection of GRP's and really get an idea of what the breed standards were. It was an amazing experience traveling around Germany and riding over 25 stallions.
I was also amazed at the extremely high standard of riding from the children as they were being coached on the "small warmblood" breed, the GRP. Little did I know that I would end up buying from Auction. Whilst trialling a Medium Level Stallion, Don Philino (pictured right) happened to come into the Arena to be worked and I could not take my eyes off him. I rode him numerous times and he had given me the best feeling of any stallion that I had ridden with his expressive paces and amazing temperament. He had outstanding credentials for his age and had 40 foals in Germany so he was also a proven sire. I continued to keep looking at other stallions before the auction but I was convinced that Don Philino was the one for me. The Auction was very nerve racking and exciting at the same time. Don Philino was the draw card for the Auction and there were people from Germany, England, Italy and the UK bidding against me. Luckily I was the winning bidder ! The only downfall of the purchase was the outbreak of EI which meant that I was not able to get Don Philino home with me for 6 months but it was well worth the wait.
Don Philino was the first GRP stallion to stand at public stud in Australia. He still has one of the highest 30 day stallion test scores on record for GRP's with a dream score of 87.7%. To accompany this, Silver Medal for Dressage and a Gold Medal for Carriage Driving and two other finalists placing at the prestigious national event the Bundeschampionate. Now in Australia he has wins and places in open dressage classes up to Medium Level. We are aiming to compete him at FEI next year. With a talent for both extension and collection, he is developing a competitive and expressive passage and piaffe tour. He is such a talented and fun stallion with an amazing temperament and now he had set my standards very high in the search for the other stallions to complete our team.
In 2008 and we purchased two young GRP colts from the Elite Pony Sales in Germany, in the hope that they could potentially become a part of our team of stallions. D’Artagnan by FS Don't Worry and Golden Rock by HET Golden Dream. Now it was time to wait to see if they were going to develop into suitable stallion prospects.
In 2009 we travelled back to Germany again with the aim to buy other stallions under saddle. I rode over 25 stallions on this trip and from the moment that I began to ride Top Der Da (left) that he was exactly what I was looking for. He was only three years old but had a real willingness to work, expressive paces, a great swing in the back combined with a very powerful hindquarter.
He was licensed in Westphalia with 75% and had covered 28 mares in his first breeding season as his bloodlines were very popular with the breeders with the combination of FS Don't Worry and Dressman 1 on his dam side. As a three year old in Germany, Top Der Da placed 4th in his first Dressage competition in an open field against warmbloods scoring 79.2% and was also the Overall Champion Young Dressage Pony in his second outing scoring 80.8% in his Dressage Test.
Everything is easy with this young stallion and he has an exciting future in Dressage ahead. He was the overall Champion of the Yalambi Dressage Classic at Preliminary Level and has had success in all his outings including a place at the 2011 State Dressage Championships, all in open classes against warmbloods. He is soon to compete at Novice and Elementary Level Dressage.
Danica Duen is a renowned professional pony trainer and specialises in preparing stallions for licensing, preparing mares for performance tests and preparing ponies for competition. For promising youngsters she prepares them with the aim to qualify them for the Bundeschampionate. Given that Danica was the former owner of Don Philino and has an understanding of what I am looking for in a stallion, I felt she was the perfect person to prepare my young stallions and assess their suitability for me.
Both of the colts were able to make it through the preselections and have both made it through the stringent German licensing process. We sold our stallion D'Artagnan in 2010 after he was the Reserve Champion of the Weser-Ems licensing and he has now gone to a super German Riding Pony Stud in Germany. Our Stallion Golden Rock (right) has exceeded all of our expectations. He was the RESERVE champion of the Westphalian Licensing in 2010 and also was awarded a PREMIUM title out of the 83 stallions that were selected and presented. He was awarded a score of 9 for his loose uphill trot and won the hearts of everyone with his natural charm. For the Hannover Licensing Golden Rock was also the 2nd Reserve Champion and awarded yet another PREMIUM title and for the Weser- Ems Registry he went Premium once again.
In 2010 I also spent some time in search of a GRP stallion that would have the credentials, rideability and temperament and compliment out team of stallions. This was a hard task indeed but finally I was able to convince Danica to sell us the Premium Licensed Stallion, Trussardi by Timberland. He was the bronze medalist of the 2010 Bundeschampionate and was my personal number one pick of all the stallions presented that year.
2011 has so far been such an amazing year for me. Firstly Trussardi has continued in his success. His temperament is out of this world, Danica says that he rides at the stallion shows like he is a schoolmaster, so confident and reliable in his work. In February, he became the Reserve Champion of the Federal Stallion Show in Berlin in a dressage Class for stallions selected based upon performance between the ages of 4 and 6 years old. He was the youngest stallion in the competition.
He gained third place in the Westphalian Free Jumping Competition for four year olds with a score of 8. Also a 1st and 2nd place this year in strong fields at Young Dressage Pony Classes with an 8.4 and 8.5.
The Youngest stallion in our team Golden Rock has now made quite a stir in Germany after being presented at Stallion Shows this year, as he showed off his expressive and powerful paces under saddle. He was the Champion of the Westphalian Free Jumping Competition for three year olds with a score of 8.4. Golden Rock won his first Young Horse Class in June with a score of 8.5!
The GRP breed was developed to produce smaller horses with the athletic ability and temperament for national and international competition and so that they can be easily ridden by a child. I really hope that the breeders that use my stallions are able to have as much pleasure and success out the progeny as I have with my GRP's. With the German Riding Pony Breed now becoming very popular in Australia, I feel that this breed is going to make a tremendous impact on all disciplines of competitive riding in Australia. With their outstanding athletic ability and expressive gaits I think that these ponies will be able to help our young riders to get a better feeling from their ponies and learn to ride big movement so that their transitions onto a larger warmblood mount will be a much smoother one.
This year has been extraordinary for Dynamik Stallion with the success of not only our two stallions in Germany and the success of our two stallions at home. We have been very fortunate to be taken on by our sponsor HYGAIN as my stallions really do so well on their high quality feeds and we are now styled by JMC equestrian and online shop with an amazing range of horse and rider wear. Golden Rock and Trussardi (left) are now completing their breeding in Germany and we look forward to seeing them at the end of August and we hope that all goes to plan for them to compete at the 2011 Bundeschampionate in September before they make their journey home to Australia.