TAILS FROM THE TRAILS
If you’ve ever thought about owning a Warmblood but preferred something a little smaller and easier to handle, Audrey Maschue might have just what you’re looking for. She breeds German Riding Ponies at her farm in The Acreage.
Originally from Michigan, Audrey started riding early: jumping, eventing, western, before starting formal dressage lessons with FEI trainers at the ripe old age of 7. Over the years, she has worked with some of the top U.S. trainers, including Charles De Kunffy, Paul Belasik, Steffen Peters, Juan Matute, Katrin Bettenworth, Andrea Woodard and Volker Brommann.
She started out as a snowbird, coming down to Florida for the show season, before finally moving here permanently in 2000 and opening Xanadu Dressage.
“I got tired of the Michigan winters,” she said. “Plus, Wellington is the place to be if you’re seriously into training and showing dressage.”
Audrey has many classes with scores into the 70 percentiles and has trained several horses up to the Grand Prix level. She enjoys teaching students who have a passion for dressage. One of her fortes is matching riders with appropriate horses, especially quality German Riding Ponies in all price ranges.
“I fell in love with German Riding Ponies,” Audrey said. “They’re a smaller version of a Warmblood with the same look, athleticism and competitiveness, only in a smaller package. They typically stand 13 to 15 hands tall. Most people think of the regular pony designation of being 14.2 hands or smaller, but these are categorized differently in Europe due to FEI rules. They’re like large ponies, most typically 14.1 to 14.3 hands.”
In addition to importing some German Riding Ponies and buying them from all over the United States, for the past year or so Audrey has been standing two stallions. Hilkins Go For Gold she imported from Germany. She bought Bullgari in Orlando. He’s a very brave eventing pony who’ll jump the moon. Audrey pointed out that the smaller size makes the breed particularly desirable for children, as well as adults.
“They’re a lot more manageable, with all the same qualities as the bigger horses,” she said. “They’re quite hardy. They stay sound and healthy forever, like many pony breeds. It’s not unusual for a 20-year-old German Riding Pony to still be competing. They have super personalities, and are more fun to be around than horses.”
They’re also a little easier on the pocketbook. You don’t need an oversized stall or trailer, or bigger tack, and they eat less.
“These ponies are very fancy, fun and super competitive. They love to show, both in dressage and over fences,” Audrey said. “There’s no disadvantage to owning one of these. They’re not the fat, chubby Thelwell ponies some people imagine. German Riding Ponies are huge in Europe and can go for more than some horses. I think people are very pleasantly surprised when they come out and try them.”
Which is exactly what Ann Boehning did. She lives in Lafayette, Ind., and had been searching for a German Riding Pony stallion to breed to her mare. She talked with a U.S. breeder who happened to mention Audrey, and so she called.
“Audrey was very professional,” Ann said. “She answered all of my questions honestly and accurately. I was looking for something safe and quiet for Kennedy, my 11-year-old daughter, who’s doing dressage. After talking with Audrey for a while, she suggested buying a pony rather than breeding our mare. She sent us a great video with raw footage, not at all edited, no slow motion, just a film showing three good-quality gaits in real time of one of her ponies.”
Ann never thought she would buy a 4-year-old pony for Kennedy, but that’s what she ended up doing.
“In January 2012, we drove all the way from Indiana to pick him up. It was a long drive, but a lot less hassle than having to go to Germany or import something,” she said. “Since then, Kennedy and Charlie, as we call him, competed in the Lendon Gray Youth Dressage Festival in New York. Charlie is just fabulous. He’s exceeded all of my expectations. I never owned a German Riding Pony before, but now it’s our favorite breed. They’re great for adults as well as kids.”
Ann still calls Audrey for advice.
“I really appreciate Audrey’s integrity. I can call and ask her anything, and she always has useful advice,” Ann said. “She follows up and wants to know how Charlie is doing. She really cares about placing each pony in just the right situation so it’s a perfect fit for both equine and human. If you’re looking for a high-quality, competitive horse, I’d highly recommend Audrey and her German Riding Ponies.”
For Audrey, it’s all about creating successful pairings.
“I love creating training programs to fit each individual’s needs,” Audrey said. “This results in great partnerships. The process of developing these successful and positive partnerships is what I enjoy the most.”
For more information, visit www.xanadudressage.com, or call Audrey at (561) 541-2646.