Ponies, ponies, ponies
Many thanks to Konstanze Allsopp, who has written this article for the site.
Although almost unknown here Ursula Bruns is one of the best-
Born in 1922, she wrote her first fiction novel around 1950, which was published by the Herder Verlag and re-
Around that time Ursula Bruns had become aware that the Iceland pony was fast becoming extinct. Modern sledge mobiles and other equipment were taking over the work of the Iceland pony which is well-
Ursula Bruns travelled to Iceland and exported a herd of these ponies to Germany. She then wrote her second fiction novel Dick und Dalli und die Ponies, translated as The Snow Ponies (referring to the Iceland ponies, of course). It is a lovely story about two girls who live with their grandmother who breeds Shetland and Iceland ponies. Its popularity is so high it is still in print. In fact, a follow-
The publication of the first book not only spawned a series of six ‘Immenhof’ Films but also made many more people aware of the plight of the Iceland pony and encouraged Germans to export these versatile, good-
Today the Iceland pony is still the most popular pony breed in Germany, able to carry adults without the slightest problem although the ponies are rarely over 13.2 h.h. Ursula Bruns wrote numerous textbooks (around 40) concerned with their maintenance, care and how to ride them, especially how to ride the two extra gaits, the pass and the running walk. Later she branched out into other little-
The Iceland pony, like many other horses and ponies, cannot tackle the high jumps demanded in German showjumping competitions (unaffiliated shows are illegal and affiliated showjumping classes start at 3"6' with a width of up to 6 feet.) Many people who enjoyed riding purely as a hobby had no ideal horse breed to do just that. The Iceland pony filled that gap.
Ursula Bruns also realised that there was no information available for people who only rode as a hobby and not in competitions and in 1959 launched the first magazine for hobby riders: the Pony Post, later renamed Freizeit im Sattel. It was and is THE benchmark magazine for hobby riders in Germany, packed with information on keeping horses at grass, innovations in the hobby rider world, and much more. Ursula Bruns wrote many of its articles and travelled around the world lecturing and teaching about her alternative way to ride and keep horses.
She also founded a riding school in Reken where she lived and taught many people what is known as the ‘light seat’. She invited famous equestrian experts like Linda Tellington-
Ursula Bruns was awarded the ‘Golden Bar with Diamonds’ by the IPZV, Islandpferde Reiter-
Finding the book: Snow Ponies can be tricky to find, but is not generally expensive when it does turn up.
The front cover of Snow Ponies,
Two of the lovely illustrations.