...and on the eight day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.
This week, we will discuss two ponies from France, the Landais and the Pottock/Basque.
The Landais Pony is a very old breed, going back to the 8th century AD, but has been heavily cross-bred with other pony breeds from throughout the world. These breeds include Barb, Welsh and Arabian. (1)
The name Landais comes from the southwest region of France known as Landes, an area of heavy forests. At one time, there was another horse originating in this area, a much heavier and larger animal known as the Barthais.
However, as the decades wore on, the two breeds merged in to one.
Originally used for light draft work or as a pack animal, the Landais is very hardy and strong, despite its small stature.
The Landais has been used in the development of the French Saddle Pony bloodlines, and in modern times is used quite a lot as a children’s pony because of its quiet, kind and intelligent temperament.
This pony is very rare, and there are only a handful of purebreds left, but efforts are underway to preserve the breed.
The Landais Pony originates in France and is considered a Warmblood. It comes in at 11.3HH to 13.1HH and does best in temperate climates. The colors are bay, brown, chestnut and black, and they are used for riding and driving in harness.
They can be a willful sort, but are usually amiable in nature.
The Landais Pony is very attractive and smartly-built. Its profile is straight, with a handsome face on a small pony head. The neck is slightly muscular, with a broad chest and sloping shoulders, and a straight back that is wide. The tail is set higher, with a nice croup, not goosey, and the hind quarters are not drafty, and have a good slope at the hip.
The Pottock/Basque Pony comes from the Basque area in southwest France, and its name is interchangeable. (2)
It is theorized that the Pottock Pony is descended from the now-extinct Tarpan and is a very old mountain breed. Its looks can be quite plain, but efforts have been made to infuse Welsh Pony and Arabian blood, to improve this.
It has great qualities of resourcefulness, strength and durability, and these aspects are now appreciated much more in modern times. There are stud farms that stand Pottock Ponies and these are a better-quality animal.
The Basque region still sports wild herds of Pottock Ponies, and some of them are rounded up each year to be sold. They are surefooted, athletic and strong, and are often used for light draft work and pack-hauling.
Pottock Ponies are great for kids, due to their easy-going nature, and are good for riding.
The Pottock/Basque Pony originates in France and is considered a Warmblood. They come in at 11HH to 14.2 HH and sport all colors, except for gray. They do best in mountain climates and are used for pack work, light draft and riding. They have a sweet nature with a willing attitude.
They are average in looks, with nice heads on a neck that ties-in low on the shoulder. The back is short, with a low tail-set, but the croup is not too goosey.
It is always interesting to learn about ponies and horses from other parts of the world.
Until next time, here are the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, "Happy Trails to You."
1,2: "A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies," by Corinne Clark