Hackney Pony Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
The Hackney Pony derives from Fell and Welsh ponies, and the foundation sire named Sir George. The Hackney Pony is not just a smaller version of the Hackney Horse; these ponies are full of pony character!
The Hackney Pony might have been named The Wilson Pony because a man of that name was responsible for intentionally creating this pony breed. Mr. Wilson did not want just a small size Hackney Horse; he wanted the new breed of pony to retain its pony-ness. He began with Fell and Welsh pony crosses and a stallion named Sir George became the foundation sire for the new pony breed. Sir George possessed handsome conformation and great action, but was nicely small being under 14 hands, which of course was important in creating a new breed of pony.
This all occurred in the late 1800’s and Sir George was a success and gained in popularity and gained success as a sire. Mr. Wilson, from Westmorland was highly successful in his endeavor, as the Hackney Pony definitely possesses the pony character. Of course they also are famous the world over for possessing the characteristics also of the larger Hackney Horse. Like many horse breeds today, the show ring is now their arena of excellence, and their success in all forms of Driving competition events and shows is well known and highly valued globally.
High action is of great value in harness classes, with the foreleg motion being well rounded and lofty, but straight and true. The hind legs are brought under the body, flexed, and piston like. Speed is not the goal, but rather the elegance and poise of form and balance.
A Hackney Pony has action that varies from the horse only in being more brisk. The pony is as hardy as the breed founder intended and no show pony lacks incredible hardiness and stamina.
It is not infrequent, and could even be called common to find show ring champions still performing brilliantly at 20 or so years of age. In fact a 10 year old pony is considered as having much more finish and potential ahead of him. These ponies stay sound too
There are many classes for the Hackney Pony in today’s shows: cob tail, harness pony, road pony, halter classes of course, and even roadster classes with riders up. There are all sorts of division of these basic classes, giving amateurs and professionals ample opportunity to show your pony! There are varied types of hitches and combinations there of. The one constant is the elegant, graceful yet symmetrical motion, and the show pony attitude and character of the animals.
Surely Mr. Wilson would be pleased and we may surely be grateful to him for a job well done, that has forever altered the show rings of the world and given so many people such pleasure at home with a pony who remains a pony while performing with such grandeur.