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The Pottoka

The Spanish Poni Vasco Navarro

  Linie Pottok Pony in the northern Pyreneans

"Pottok" is the Basque word for "little horse" and has given this breed its name. The land of the Basque is situated on the northern border between Spain and France. Most of the Pottok (pronounced "Pottiok") Ponies or Pottoka (pronounced "Pottokak") are still living free in the northern Pyreneans.
In Spain the Pottok is also known as "Poni Vasco" or "Poni Vasco Navarro" because they live in the Spanish Province "Pais Vasco".

Linie Pottoka Pony with a bell around the neck

Some Pottokas wear a thick leather belt with a bell around their neck. In the earlier days the smugglers pressed grass in the bells of their horses so nobody could hear their bells while they were transporting smuggled goods. If it was not possible for them to avoid a contact with the border guard, they let their horses run away into the darkness. Sooner or later the grass fell out of the bells and the smugglers could find their horse again.

Linie in the northern Pyreneans

Once a year the Pottok were gatherd together. The foals were marked by burning with a glowing iron or cutting away a little piece of their ear. On second Saturday of October the owner of the horses sell some of their ponies at the market "la Feria de las Razas Autóctonas Vascas de Markina" in Bizkaia. The other Pottokas return back to their free lives in the mountains.

Linie Pottoka Pony Drago

In the earlier days the Pottoka was the horse of the farmers. They were used as transportation for smuggling goods across the mountains. They were sold up to Italy, to pull wagons in the coal mines. The horses were also an involuntary meat supply.
Theses days, they have no more hard work to do. They have found a new job in the sport of riding.  

Linie Pottok Pony herd in the mountains

The Spanish and French breeders have established their own breeding associations for this breed. The Spanish breeding association was established in 1995. They have nearly 1000 registered mares and stallions, distributed in Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Alava. The Pottoka are separated into three Types.

Linie thoroughbred Pottoka Type A

In Standard = Type A only thoroughbred Pottoka with the original colour are registered. These are black and brown ponies in all shades. They are 51 inches (130 cm) or smaller.

Linie Pottoka Piebald = Type B

The Spanish breeders believe that other colours are the result of crossbreeding with other breeds in earlier times. The first piebald Pottoka appeared around the year 1850 in Bizkaia. So in the Piebald = Type B purebred Pottoka of all colours are accepted which are maximum 55 inches (140cm) height.

Linie Pottoka Type C

Type C crossbreeding of a Pottoka with another race are registered. All colours are accepted and they could be up to 58 inches (147cm) in high. The C-Pottoka has to be at least 50% purebred Pottoka.

Linie Monika Kind & Pottok Pony Mirabelle

This site is still under construction. If you have more information or pictures of the Pottoka, please contact me
  Monika Kind


to the beginning - The Pottoka - the spanish Poni Vasco Navarro
all pictures in a big format on seperate Sites
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Pottoks              Mirabelle - the Pottok Pony mare talks about her life
                         Pottok-Ponys - some Pottok-Ponys introduce themself
                         The Pottok - the little horse from the Basque
                         Pottok Standard A - the French breeding description of the Pottok Ponys group A
                         Pottok Standard B - the French breeding description of the Pottok Ponys group B
                         The Pottoka - the spanish Poni Vasco Navarro
                         Bern 2003 - the Pottok-Breeding-Show
                         Burgdorf 2005 - the Pottok-Breeding-Show
                         Elevage du Bruehli- the Pottok-Pony stud farm
                         Ascain 2007- the Pottok judge in the Basque country
                         La Rhune 2007- the mountain of the Pottok Ponys

icelandhorses    the Icelandic horsefarm Ásgard

cats                   Lord Charly of Ásgard (my little one) a grey tiger-cat
                          Lord Charly of Ásgard - the male cat goes on journey
                          Peggy - the cat with the stub tail
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