Prepared from information supplied by Richard Crispin
The Timor pony is known for its exceptional stamina and hardiness. In 1824, a large group of ponies from the island of Timor was introduced to Australia via the Cobourg Peninsula, northeast of Darwin. They were intended for use as pack animals by explorers, graziers and gold miners. The pony flourished in the region, where some other breeds did not survive the tropical conditions and diseases. Timor ponies are still found in Australia’s north.
The ponies also thrived in the south of the country. In the 1850s, Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson reportedly visited a large Timor stud on the outskirts of Yass in New South Wales. This stud supplied ponies for work on goldfields. After the Gold Rush, many of the ponies were released into the wild. In Paterson’s poem The Man from Snowy River, the man’s horse had ‘a touch of Timor pony’.
The Timor pony is still found in Timor where it lives among the hills and gullies of the island’s centre. Villagers use the pony as a pack and riding animal. During the Second World War, Australian and Dutch commandos of Sparrow Force used the ponies in operations against the Japanese.
The Timor pony has elements of two ancient horse breeds: the Tarpan, or Eurasian wild horse; and the Przewalski, or Asiatic wild horse. Typically the pony stands between 11 and 13 hands high.
The Timor pony has had an influence on the breeding of many Australian horse breeds. The Australian Pony Stud Book oversees the breeding of this horse in Australia.