Bernwode Stud cont.....

I was keen to find out how Sarah sourced her breeding mares, and asked her where she found the majority of her breeding mares, and what percentage were purchased and homebreds.


"All my original pony mares were imported from Germany and Holland and carry specific lines that have proven successful in both breeding and high levels of competition. I have kept most of my fillies by stallions other than my own and now have an exciting herd of diverse bloodlines, types and competition abilities. I breed from my older mares every other year but the % of foals from subsequent generations is now greater."

Bernwode Evelina S

BEF Leading Dam of Sports Ponies 2009

From here I then asked Sarah what method she used when choosing what mare is suited to a particular stallion.

"I like to have a clear idea about what I am attempting to breed and what purpose the offspring is to fulfil. Every mare has some small weakness one would like to improve, either in her conformation or temperament, so it goes without saying that the stallion should be strong in that area.

In sports pony breeding there is the added complication of final height so it is necessary to look back in the bloodlines of both parents rather than to base a decision on just what you see. "

As with breeding stallions I asked Sarah what she thought was more important, a stallion who does well in the sport, or a stallion who does well as a breeder.

"Both is the icing on the cake as competition shows a measure of a stallion’s temperament and soundness but there are some ‘end of line’ stallions that are, or have been, fantastic competition ponies yet consistently produce disappointing offspring, even to really good mares.

A breeding stallion is only as good as the children he is producing and he must improve all types of mares in some respect. If you are looking at a stallion as a potential sire it is far more important to research his offspring than his competition results."

Making no excuses about my lack of sports pony breeding, I was most interested to find out about the bloodlines surrounding the bases of the mare and stallion lineages, so I went on to ask Sarah what bloodlines she thought were the most influencial in the world of breeding sports ponies?

Zara 1

"The base of the European Riding Pony came from British lines such as Bwlch Valentino, Bwlch Hill Wind, Downland Chevalier and Folklore, Whatton Copper Beech, The Anglo Arabs, Matcho and Caid and the New Forest, Merrie Moscan, to name but a few.

Welsh Section B stallions, particularly Heros and Constantin have been used prolifically on larger mares, often Grannus and Furiosso II daughters, to introduce power and activity in the movement along with athleticism and jumping ability.

Other major influences, both for dressage and jumping, have been the stallions Viktoria’s Chirac, Brillant and Dancer, who are responsible for many of the top competition ponies and graded stallions in Europe. Dancer’s notorious son, Golden Dancer is particularly strong through his daughters and can take much of the credit for the abundance of Germany’s up and coming palomino competitors. It would be hard not to find at least one of the above lines in a successful European sports pony."

Bernwode Stud's Broodmare

Golden Dream (by Golden Dancer)

Piglet cut

Bernwode Golden Delicious

(Bernwode Brokat x Golden Dream)
BEF 1st Premium Foal 2009 at Catherston

With the Bernwode foals and youngstock doing well each year at shows, the BEF Futurity and in competition, I asked Sarah what she looked for in her foals.

"Alongside the conformation and movement I want in the mature pony I like foals to have a confident, inquisitive and friendly outlook on life. There is nothing better than watching a beautifully put together, light moving foal turned loose and showing off to an audience."


Again, not knowing much about the world of breeding sports ponies I was interested again to find out what stallions Sarah currently rated in the sport of dressage and showjumping.


Bernwode Bugatti

(Bernwode Brokat x Bernwode Mandy)
Demonstrating the movement Sarah looks for

"The German bred pony, Rembrandt, now competing for The Dutch Team at FEI dressage and the Connemara, Grand Prix jumping pony, Grey Palace. Both stallions have a lovely conformation, a supple and engaged movement, fantastic brains, and supreme athleticism."

On the topic of stallions, I then went on to ask Sarah - If you could choose one stallion who is doing well at the moment to own, which one would it be and why?

Grey Palace

Awarded "Elite" by the SPSS for his International Showjumping Achievements


"It would have to be the young 2009 German Bundeschampion, Cyrill. Although he is not yet proven as a sire, the bloodlines throughout his pedigree would indicate his potential and he is exceptional as a model of the modern sports pony. I would be happy to take the small risk on his breeding ability!"

As a stallion owner myself, I was curious to know whether Sarah struggled to find riders for her ponies, as sometimes in the horse world it can be a challenge!

"I am pro- active on this one and will happily track down parents and trainers of young riders who impress me. I like to get to as many competitions and selection trials as I can and keep an eye on potential talent.

The biggest problem with ponies is that no sooner have you found the perfect partnership the rider either becomes too big or too old to compete in pony classes and you have to start all over again!"


2009 German Bundeschampion
(Champion de Luxe / Power Man )

With the market always changing regarding selling horses and ponies in the UK, not to mention the current economy, I asked Sarah how she found the UK market for sports ponies, and how she went about marketing her youngsters.

"As a relatively small breeder I do not do much marketing of my own stock but prefer for the ‘ideal’ purchaser to appear!

In the past two years I have found that there is growing interest from Spain, Italy and Holland who are all thinking forward and looking for young ponies to either produce for competition or enhance their gene pools.

The UK is an attractive and cheap alternative to Germany as we are now breeding some top class sports ponies but we do not yet have the specialist producers or the showcase of a qualifying National Championship for young dressage and jumping ponies to provide the same marketing power. "

Past Issues

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