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What is the deal with pony-sized finnhorses?

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Friisin Paletti has also been shown in combined driving arenas. Photo by Jasmina Sulkumäki

Friisin Paletti. Photo by Jasmina Sulkumäki

Pony-sized finnhorse, small horse, yet not a pony, but in my opinion a bit more describing term would be “finnpony”. One breeding section of the finnhorse, but

What is it actually?

Finnhorse was originally a small horse breed to start with, standing 105-130 cm in height. Crossbreeding gave them bigger size in pursue of strong working horses, resulting in the modern, 150-160 cm high finnhorses by average.

P-studbook was founded in 1971, when there was only a small population of these pony-sized horses left. There are breeders who are looking for these smaller individuals. The criteria for P-studbook is pretty similar to other pony breeds: the horse has to stand 148 cm or below at highest and be well proportioned, meaning small in every aspect, not just a big horse with short legs. Inspection consists of showing and riding or driving tests, which do not include very difficult tasks and passing is considered generally easier than to other studbooks.

So you could say that the P-studbook was founded to answer the growing demand of riding ponies. Importing riding horses and ponies grew vastly in the 70’s. Nowadays finnhorses have made their way to riding arenas but pony-sized finnhorses seem to be left behind. Or is this just my feeling?

Color range is quite rich among pony-sized finnhorses. Black stallion Millin Nokinen, photo by Hippos/Eero Perttunen

Color range is quite rich among pony-sized finnhorses. Black stallion Millin Nokinen, photo by Hippos/Eero Perttunen

What can you do with them?

Short answer: Anything.

Longer answer: Most often Finnponies are used for riding and driving. They are advertised as a multipurpose pony, since you can race them, ride them or use them as work horses same as the bigger ones, the only limit being the horse’s small size, which on the other hand makes them good for pony classes in riding and combined driving. A few finnponies have already shown their skills in combined driving, for example Hessin Vihtori and Vuohimäen Havu both placed in international Baltic Cup in 2012 and also in the Finnish championships.

Personally I think that the biggest problem in riding competitions are the age limitations for riders. After you turn 16, you either have to take your pony to open classes against bigger horses or switch to horses yourself. This means that very few adult riders are seen in the saddles of ponies in Finland. Luckily the Pony-sized Finnhorse Association has noticed this flaw as well and organizes their championships for both senior and junior riders on finnponies. But that’s only once a year…

There are also a few successful trotters that are pony-sized, the most famous of them must be stallion called Liptus, who competed altogether 412 times in his career with record 1.21,4 and over 300 000 € winnings, standing only 144 cm in height. Most often small horses are considered less good for racing, though, since the horses with longer legs seem to get an obvious advantage on the track.

Finnpony has its own fan base, but from the marketing point of view it could have a bit clearer brand so it would be easier to introduce to new people and possible buyers and future breeders. “Anything, but not exactly everything” doesn’t work very well as a motto for today’s market.

What do you think could be a good slogan for finnponies? :)

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3 thoughts on “What is the deal with pony-sized finnhorses?

  1. Pingback: Most popular posts of 2013 | National Treasure

  2. Pingback: National Pony Show 2013 | National Treasure

  3. Pingback: It’s a Breed Thing... The Delightful Horse

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