Name of breed: Sandalwood Pony
Country of origin: Indonesia
Breed origin: The Sandalwood pony developed on the Indonesian islands of Sumba and Sumbawa. It is named after the Sandalwood tree, which was once of the island’s major exports. Not much is known about the history of the Sandalwood breed, but it is believed that Arabians and Barbs had a strong influence on their bloodlines, making them one of the fastest and finest of the eight horse breeds native to Indonesia. The Sandalwood pony has been exported to many other Southeast Asian nations to be used for racing. It has also played a role in shaping some of Australia’s pony breeds.
Distinguishing features: Sandalwood ponies are fast, hardy and robust, with great stamina. They have a handsome head with small ears, a short and muscular neck leading to a deep chest, a long back, and a sloping shoulder and croup. Their legs are thin but strong, and their hooves are tough and well-shaped. Sandalwood ponies usually stand 12 to 13 hands high and can be any colour.
Modern day Sandalwood Pony: The Sandalwood pony is used for light draft, pack, farm and riding work on their native islands, as well as for racing. They race both on the flat and in harness, including in the bareback races held on the islands, which are often over three miles long. Oh and let’s not forget their very important role in the Pasola Festival, in which teams of bareback warriors demonstrate their prowess by throwing spears at their opponents.
Image credits: Yusuf Ahmad/World Folklore Photographers Association, Animals in Detail, Ignas Inyas Kunda/Antara Foto.