The First Stud Book
The most important task of the society was to establish the Stud Book and in 1894 it was decided that this should be based on that of the Shire Horse Society. 500 copies were printed and were sold to members for the princely sum of 3 shillings or 10 shillings to non- members. It contained 57 stallions and 316 mares and their produce. The first ever entry and No 1 in the book is a 13.31/2 hh Arab stallion, Abdul Hamid IV, he was American bred and owned, which showed that the Stud Book was already recognised internationally. A huge variety of animals, ranging from small thoroughbreds to Welsh Cobs, Welsh Mountain Ponies and an Exmoor x thoroughbred mare, described as “ an extraordinary jumper “ were registered.
Although the aim was to encourage the breeding of high class Riding Ponies, the preface of Vol 1 suggests that Polo was the foremost consideration at this point. The Earl of Harrington noted that the founding of the Stud book was a means of founding “ a very valuable breed of animal which can be used for any purpose “. As one of the difficulties in breeding Polo ponies was keeping the height within the limit, small pure blood native ponies were useful in this role, rather than being used as riding animals. Nonetheless, the importance of preserving and encouraging the improvement of the native stock became a constant theme of the society, one which continues to this day.