Blog Hop: What Makes A GRP?

How did this pointy-shouldered beast come to be?
I'm taking things in a non-OTTB direction here in this blog hop and delving into the weird world of German Riding Pony breeding!

Now I don't know a whole lot about the confusing protocols of European warmblood registries, but I'm going to do my best to provide an interesting overview of Dino's breeding and how the GRP developed from some seemingly-not-at-all-similar breeds.

The GRP, as a breed, is quite young. It was only just established in 1975, and was created with the goal of developing a sporthorse-in-miniature by crossing native British ponies such as the Welsh with Thoroughbreds and Arabians. As a result, GRP's look less like what we think of as a (round, short-legged) pony, and more like a very small warmblood. They tend to have more fluid, horse-like movement than other ponies, and though they appear as miniature warmbloods, many (including Dino!) don't have a drop of WB blood in them. This fact really surprised me when I started looking into Dino's lineage! GRP's were bred to be tiny, talented mounts for the Olympic disciplines: Eventing, Show Jumping, and Dressage, and for me, that's what makes the breed so appealing. They are everything you could ever want in a sport horse, only in a smaller package! As one website so excellently put it, "...the best German Riding Pony should combine warmblood talent and movement with pony character, charm, and intelligence." 

Branded & Registered!
Like many other European breeds, there are several regional registries that hold inspections to approve ponies as GRP's. Dino is registered with the Weser-Ems, which is (somehow) associated with the Oldenburg registry (GOV). While they are mainly the result of Welsh ponies crossed with Thoroughbreds or Arabians, various warmblood breeds do pop up in the bloodlines now and then, and warmblood mares can be approved for breeding by the GRP registries. Some registries brand their ponies, some do not, but all use a variation of the Oak Leaf & Acorn brand that Dino sports on his hip. The '98 underneath it denotes his birth year. This is where my knowledge base gets fuzzy, so I'll move onto the pedigrees themselves!

Click to Embiggen
Despite appearances, Dino's lines contain absolutely ZERO warmblood breeds. He is 100% PONY, with some Arab and TB thrown in way back in his lines for good measure. With the help of his German passport, I was able to fill in the missing information from, which is super exciting!

Knowing that Dino is basically a Welsh/Arabian cross, I can definitely pick out some similar traits he shares with both breeds!

Do you see the family resemblance?

A (very familiar!) Arabian
Our Favorite GRP

Look at those cute little Welsh ears!
What a similar pony expression!
Something else I find absolutely fascinating is that while as a breed, the GRP is a relatively new arrival built out of some fairly varied crosses of different breeds of horses and ponies, they all share such a similar body type: that of a curvy, well-proportioned, miniature sport horse. Whether the individual pony has some warmblood lines or more Arabian lineage doesn't seem to make very much of a difference in their physical appearance. For example, the popular GRP stallion Makuba is by a Trakhener stallion, but still retains the Pony/Arabian cross traits of other GRP's. Burberry, another excellent stallion, has mainly pony blood in his lines with a handful of Oldenburgs several generations back. Golden State, a palomino dressage phenom GRP stallion, is just about all Welsh. But all of these fabulous little sport horses share the same basic body type despite the variances in their bloodlines. Like many warmbloods, I suppose, the German Riding Pony is more a 'type' than a breed produced by decades of line breeding - a very different history than that of breeds like Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses.


Golden State

It seems that no matter what percentage of Warmblood, Welsh Pony, or Arabian blood they have, German Riding Ponies are consistently very awesome, very tiny sport horses perfect for riders who value athletic ability and that cheeky, wickedly-smart pony personality. I've certainly fallen in love with the breed, and I hope you all have found a new appreciation for them, too!


  1. As a warmblood breeding enthusiast, I think you did a pretty bang-on job of explaining the GRP here! It can be very confusing.

    1. Thank you! It means a lot coming from someone with your vast knowledge base! :)

  2. I had no idea about any of this and just learned so much. And also want one very much now! I've loved Arabs and Welsh since I was a kid (and still do) so to morph that into a super sporthorse sounds fantastic. Maybe one day!

    1. DO IT! They are super, super cool little sportscar ponies that can do everything a big WB can do.. just with more 'tude ;)

  3. what a cool history! it's kinda amazing to me this idea of 'creating' new breeds in this day and age - but i like it a lot and think they were definitely onto something in putting together a nicely build sporty pony!!

    1. Right!? I found the whole thing totally fascinating the deeper I dug! Those Germans sure know how to make nice horses.

  4. I have been wondering about this since helping a friend find her next (petite) dressage mount, and seeing lots of GRPs! I even sat on one the other week- he was super cool!

    1. Awesome! I hope she ends up with a GRP, they ARE very cool! Just like big dressage horses... only tiny. And cheeky.

  5. This was very educational! I see some stuff about GRP in association with the RPSI and had never put the time into researching them. Now I want one!

  6. So part of the reason why I like RPSI is because they are associated with GRP and you and Dino are the best!


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