About Nooitgedacht Pony Horses
Nooitgedacht Ponies are one of the few indigenous breeds in
South Africa, and the only true descendant of the better-known Basuto Pony.
Nooigedachts are a rare horse breed, with only about 400 purebreds in
Their development began in 1951 when the South African
Department of Agriculture brought a group of Basuto-type ponies. In 1952 a
breeding project began on the Nooitgedacht Research Station. This was done
primarily to save the famous Basuto horses from extinction but also because
South Africa needed an indigenous farm and riding horse adapted to conditions
of the region.
Due to large-scale inbreeding in the past, the breeders at
Nooitgedacht had to use extreme care. For this reason, a Boer stallion and a
partbred Arab were used to a limited extent in addition to Vonk, a stallion
selected from a departmental committee to be the founder of the breed. The
progeny of Vonk dominated the breeding project to such an extent that nearly
every member of the Nooitgedacht breed today is a descendant of Vonk through
the sire, dam, or both. The foaling percentage was very high, ranging at 90
percent. So strict was the selection that only one in four ponies were kept.
Systematic breeding resulted in the gradual crystallization
of a recognizable and uniform type, and breeders were able to start talking
about a "breed". In 1967, breeding stock of these horses were
supplied to eight studs, and they were established as part of the project.
In 1968, the Nooitgedacht Breeders' Association was formed
by participants in the project. Breeding standards were established as
guidelines for breeders and judges at shows. Satisfied that the development
task had been completed, the Department of Agriculture Technical Services sold
all of its horses by public auction in March 1977. The breeding project was
then in the hands of the breeders' association, which had some sixty members in
In 1976, the Nooitgedacht pony was affiliated with the South
African Stud Book Association as South Africa's first indigenous pony breed.
According to the standards set by the Nooitgedacht Breeders'
Association, the Nooitgedacht pony should ideally be a good riding horse with
outstanding stamina. They have a compact build, with a short back, and a
well-sloping shoulder. They are good natured and intelligent. They are
extremely hardy with good bone structure, good joints, and excellent hooves
which seldom require shoeing. Bay, brown (a variant of bay) and chestnut roans
are the most common colous. They usually stands between 13.2 (138 cm) and 15 (153
cm) hands high.
Nooitgedacht ponies are tall enough to be used by both
children and adults. They are good jumpers, and they are becoming more popular
as a show horse. They excel in gymkhana, polo, endurance riding, and hacking.