Until the establishment of the Australian Saddle Pony Association there were many ponies of outstanding quality whose breeding was unknown or was such that they were ineligible for registration in any of the other breed registries.
A group of concerned pony enthusiasts met during the 1973 Sydney Royal Easter Show and resolved to form an association dedicated to providing a register to record high quality, versatile ponies, the descendants of a variety of bloodlines and breeds.
The need for the association quickly became apparent as from the initial classification day at Luddenham NSW on 7 October 1973. Branches were soon formed throughout NSW with activities commencing in Tasmania (1974), Queensland (1975) and Victoria (1976). Like many organizations, the association was initially run with voluntary help, but it quickly became apparent that a full- time secretary was necessary to provide services members needed. In 1978 the association became incorporated as a public company and in 1985 a secretary was appointed. The Association launched the first volume of the Stud Book in 1985 which provides invaluable information for breeders. In the early years classification was very important. The standard had to be high to keep the integrity of the society.
To become a classifier was an honour and invitation only, the classifier had to be probationary until considered ready, there was always three classifiers with a marking system to ensure fairness to the presenter, two full classifiers and a probationary were the usual three.
This method has proved to be successful as our stud book is full of beautiful ponies true to standard in the early days (1970 - 1980's) a few of our ponies were APSB or Welsh, which increased with time and then Riding Ponies.
The need grew for country classifiers and classification days were held regularly in country centres. Anything up to thirty ponies would be put forward and they were quite an event.
Some of our early members who were classifiers would travel many miles for these days usually Saturdays and Sun- days. The time was given freely for the benefit of the society, and they would usually stay with other members at these towns. The tales they could tell and the anecdotes would fill many books.
This method continued for many years. But times change, costs increased especially petrol and accommodation and the number of ponies decreased.
It became difficult to classify ponies in out lying areas, so a way of using videos and DVD's was initiated. After all people, were buying ponies by video and we found the system cost effective and extremely convenient for the presenters, this way the ponies could be classified quickly and the standard still not compromised.
Over the years there were more and more registered ponies, the owners wanting multi registrations for showing purposes. The times were changing and the Society had to change to keep abreast.
It was considered by council and passed at the meeting that ponies already registered with other pony breeds and society's with registered paper work would automatically be included in our registry, those ponies not registered or branded have to be classified either by video or classifiers.
This new system is proving very successful and with the downloading of paperwork from the ASPA Website, the Australian Saddle Ponies are moving into the future, and making joining the association member friendly.
While the association was initially formed to provide a register for ponies ineligible for other associations, many of the ponies in the stud books are dual registered with other breed societies.
Many registered ponies carry the distinctive Australian Saddle Pony Association's brand. The association provides a number of services for members. As well as the routine activities involved in maintaining a stud register such as registering ponies, transfers and membership records, the association endeavours to provide many other services for members. In addition, the association actively encourages other shows, including Royals and Breed Shows to include classes for registered Australian Saddle Ponies and the now famous "Black & White" ribbons is a feature of many shows.
Australian Saddle Ponies excel in many spheres of the horse world. Successes in prestigious hacking events at a national level for Australian Saddle Ponies are well documented, however it is other fields often less commonly known that the versatility of the Australian Saddle Pony also shines through.
A visit to your local pony club will find many children mounted on Australian Saddle Ponies. Versatility at pony club is essential as children are often asked to perform in dressage, sporting, jumping and perhaps tent-pegging or polocrosse all in the one afternoon
In country areas many Australian Saddle Ponies earn their keep being used for regular stock work around the family property during the week and then washed and plaited up, turn out at the local show or gymkana at the weekend.
Australian Saddle Ponies can be seen at One Day Eventing, Endurance Riding, performing Dressage or in Harness com- petitions. Your Australian Saddle Pony is capable of being whatever you want from a pony, whether showing, sporting, jumping or just riding for pleasure. Whatever your choice in the field of horsemanship, you will enjoy a wonderful relationship with a loyal friend.
Australian Saddle Pony Association
PO Box 150
PEAK HILL, NSW 2869
Ph: 02 6869 1627
Fax: 02 6869 1997