The French Saddle Pony was developed in France, and is still a popular choice of the pony lovers. These equines were primarily designed to become good riding ponies for young people, especially in schools for children. They are excellent at jumping, galloping, and are able to hold their riders even when they are moving at high speed. The French Saddle Pony fills a role similar to the German riding pony and the British Riding Pony.
|Also Known As||Poney Français de Selle|
|Physical Characteristics||The profile is either straight or slightly convex, and having a small head, the eyes are large and expressive; has a long, well-shaped neck and a deep, wide chest, while the shoulder is also long, but sloping; legs are sturdy and with defined joints, and the hooves are tough and in good shape|
|Temperament||Alert, willing, affectionate, good-tempered|
|Type||Riding Pony, Sports Pony, Competition Pony, Show Pony, Pleasure Pony|
|Colors||14 common colors – white, black, brown, grey, bay, chestnut, dun, buckskin, palomino, perlino, cremello, roan, champagne, and grullo|
|Height/Size||12.1 hands (average studs, stallions and mares)|
|Common Uses||General riding, dressage, driving, trailing, eventing, hacking, racing, show jumping|
|Health Problems||Normally healthy|
|Popular Traits||Excellent balance in riding and galloping; enduring|
|Feeding/Diet||Normal equine diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.|
|Country of Origin||France|
|Time of Development||1969|
These ponies were developed from a cross between local French pony mares with the Arabian horse, the Connemara horse, or Welsh stallions. However, the bloods of several other larger native equines were also mixed in the long run. In fact, the main aim of the breeders was to find out new ways to modify the native breeds into sturdy saddle ponies.
It was in 1969 that the ‘Association Française du Poney de Croisement’ (French Association of Cross-bred Ponies) started the breeding program for the development of the French Saddles. Initially, the association considered creating and promoting a French Sport Pony under the name Poney de Croisement (Cross-bred Pony).
In 1972, a stud book for this new breed eventually came into existence. Later, in 1991 the association closed the registry for equines from outside blood. During this time, they also renamed the breed as ‘Poney Français de Selle’.