What Is a Pony?

A pony is a small horse (Equus ferus caballus). Depending on the context, a pony may be a horse that is under an approximate or exact height at the withers, or a small horse with a specific conformation and temperament. Compared to a larger horse, a pony may have a thicker coat, mane and tail, with proportionally shorter legs, a wider barrel, heavier bone, a thicker neck and a shorter, broader head. The word pony derives from the old French poulenet, meaning foal, a young, immature horse.[citation needed]

Small horses and ponies were traditionally used for riding , driving and as pack beasts . During the Industrial Revolution , particularly in Great Britain , a many were used as pit ponies , hauling loads of coal in the mines.

In the modern era they may be kept as children’s mounts, for recreational or competitive riding or driving, or for cultural or conservation reasons. [ citation needed ] Some breeds classify an animal as either horse or pony based on pedigree and phenotype , no matter its height. Pony foals are smaller than standard horse foals, but both have long legs and small bodies.For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers .

[1] However, the term “pony” can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed. Ponies originally developed as a landrace adapted to a harsh natural environment, and were considered part of the “draft” subtype typical of Northern Europe. [3] Studies of mitochondrial DNA (which is passed on though the female line) indicate that a large number of wild mares have contributed to modern domestic breeds; [4][5] in contrast, studies of y-DNA (passed down the male line) suggest that there was possibly just one single male ancestor of all domesticated breeds.

Pony breeds have developed all over the world, particularly in cold and harsh climates where hardy, sturdy working animals were needed. Ponies trained by inexperienced individuals, or only ridden by beginners, can turn out to be spoiled because their riders typically lack the experience base to correct bad habits. ^ “PONY MEASUREMENT 2007 30 January 2007 ” Explanation of Article 3103.1, FInternational Federation for Equestrian Sport Web site, Accessed October 7, 2009 Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine ^ Owlet, Lorna and Phlip Mathews, Ponies in Australia , Milsons Point: 1979 ^ Bennett, Deb (1998).

^ Jansen, Thomas; Forster, Peter; Levine, Marsha A.; Oelke, Hardy; Hurles, Matthew; Renfrew, Colin; Weber, Jrgen; Olek, Klaus (6 August 2002). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World .

Is a pony and a horse the same thing?

For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers. Standard horses are 14.2 or taller. … However, the term “pony” can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed.

Is a pony a baby horse?

A young horse is known as a foal. Ponies are small breeds of horses that, because of their size, appear much smaller when fully grown than larger breeds of horses. … A horse’s height is measured in hands from the ground to the withers (the area on top of a horse between its neck and back).

What is the word pony slang for?

Meaning: Rubbish; nonsense, or ‘of poor quality’. Often shortened just to ‘pony’.

Can a pony reproduce?

Ponies and horses can easily breed together if you choose a male pony and a female horse. You can also breed a female pony with a male horse (stallion), but the stallion should not be more than 3 hands larger than the pony.

Ponies and horses are more similar than they are different. The one thing that ponies are not, that many people are mistaken about, is that they are not baby horses. Both horses and ponies are of the same species (Equus caballus) and come from the exact same family tree. However, ponies stay small their whole life, maturing more quickly than horses. Pony foals are tiny and will rapidly mature to the approximate size of their parents. Horses are slower growing, some not attaining full mature size until they are six or seven years of age.

Their coats tend to grow thicker in the winter, which often doesnt shed out until the hottest days of summer.

Many young girls and boys dream of having their own pony. What actually makes a pony a pony? How is a pony different from a horse? Are there ponies that are not really true ponies?

Of course, ponies require a lot of space and care, so most backyards aren’t really good places to raise a pony. Many of you may have ended up with a toy pony instead!

Likewise, there are horse breeds that don’t grow taller than 14.2 hands, yet don’t share the same characteristics of ponies.

Pony

ASmall horses and ponies were traditionally used for riding, driving and as pack beasts. During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Great Britain, a many were used as pit ponies, hauling loads of coal in the mines. In the modern era they may be kept as children’s mounts, for recreational or competitive riding or driving, or for cultural or conservation reasons.Ponies are generally considered intelligent and friendly. They are sometimes also described as stubborn or cunning. Properly trained ponies are appropriate mounts for children who are learning to ride. Larger ponies can be ridden by adults, as ponies are usually strong for their size. In modern use, some organizations may define a pony as a mature horse below a certain height at the withers; this may vary from about 142 cm (14.0 h) to nearly 150 cm (14.3 h). Some breeds classify an animal as either horse or pony based on pedigree and phenotype, no matter its height. A full-sized horse may sometimes be called a pony as a term of endearment.

Definition[edit]

For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers. Standard horses are 14.2 or taller. The International Federation for Equestrian Sports defines the official cutoff point at 148 centimetres (58.3 in; 14.2 hands) without shoes and 149 centimetres (58.66 in; 14.2+1⁄2 hands) with shoes, though allows a margin for competition measurement of up to 150 centimetres (59.1 in; 14.3 hands) without shoes, or 151 centimetres (59.45 in; 14.3+1⁄2 hands) with shoes.

History[edit]

Ponies originally developed as a landrace adapted to a harsh natural environment, and were considered part of the “draft” subtype typical of Northern Europe. At one time, it was hypothesized that they may have descended from a wild “draft” subspecies ofDomesticated ponies of all breeds originally developed mainly from the need for a working animal that could fulfill specific local draft and transportation needs while surviving in harsh environments. The usefulness of the pony was noted by farmers who observed that a pony could outperform a draft horse on small farms.By the 20th century, many pony breeds had Arabian and other blood added to make a more refined pony suitable for riding.

Uses[edit]

In many parts of the world ponies are used as working animals, as pack animals and for pulling various horse-drawn vehicles. They are seen in many different equestrian pursuits. Some breeds, such as the Hackney pony, are primarily used for driving, while other breeds, such as the Connemara pony and Australian Pony, are used primarily for riding. Others, such as the Welsh pony, are used for both riding and driving. There is no direct correlation between a horse’s size and its inherent athletic ability.

Characteristics[edit]

Ponies are often distinguished by their phenotype, a stocky body, dense bone, round shape and well-sprung ribs. They have a short head, large eyes and small ears. In addition to being smaller than a horse, their legs are proportionately shorter. They have strong hooves and grow a heavier hair coat, seen in a thicker mane and tail as well as a particularly heavy winter coat.Pony breeds have developed all over the world, particularly in cold and harsh climates where hardy, sturdy working animals were needed. They are remarkably strong for their size. Breeds such as the Connemara pony are recognized for their ability to carry a full-sized adult rider. Pound for pound ponies can pull and carry more weight than a horse.Nearly all pony breeds are very hardy, easy keepers that share the ability to thrive on a more limited diet than that of a regular-sized horse, requiring half the hay for their weight as a horse, and often not needing grain at all. However, for the same reason, they are also more vulnerable to laminitis and Cushing’s syndrome. They may also have problems with hyperlipemia.Ponies are generally considered intelligent and friendly, though sometimes they also are described as stubborn or cunning.For showing purposes, ponies are often grouped into small, medium, and large sizes. Small ponies are 12.2 hands (50 inches, 127 cm) and under, medium ponies are over 12.2 but no taller than 13.2 hands (54 inches, 137 cm), and large ponies are over 13.2 hands (54 inches, 137 cm) but no taller than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm).The smallest equines are called miniature horses by many of their breeders and breed organizations, rather than ponies, even though they stand smaller than small ponies,

Similar or similarly-named horses[edit]

Some horse breeds are not defined as ponies, even when they have some animals that measure under 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm). This is usually due to body build, traditional uses and overall physiology. Breeds that are considered horses regardless of height include the Arabian horse, American Quarter Horse and the Morgan horse, all of which have individual members both over and under 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm).Other horse breeds, such as Icelandic horse and Fjord horse, may sometimes be pony-sized or have some pony characteristics, such as a heavy coat, thick mane, and heavy bone, but are generally classified as “horses” by their respective registries.Some horses may be pony height due to environment more than genetics. For example, the Chincoteague pony, a feral horse that lives on Assateague Island off the coast of Virginia, often matures to the height of an average small horse when raised from a foal under domesticated conditions.Conversely, the term “ponyis occasionally used to describe horses of normal height. Horses used for polo are often called “polo ponies” regardless of height, even though they are often of Thoroughbred breeding and often well over 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm). American Indian tribes also have the tradition of referring to their horses as “ponies,” when speaking in English, even though many of the Mustang horses they used in the 19th century were close to or over 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm), and most horses owned and bred by Native peoples today are of full horse height. Non-racing horses at racetracks that are used to lead the racehorses, ponying them, are called “pony horses”.The term “ponyis also sometimes used to describe a full-sized horse in a humorous or affectionate sense.The United States Pony Club defines “pony” to be any mount that is ridden by a member regardless of its breed or size. Persons up to 25 years old are eligible for membership, and some of the members’ “ponies” actually are full-size horses.

Size

The most obvious difference between a horse and a pony is size. For most purposes, a pony is under 14.2 hands high if you ride English, and under 14 hands if you’re a western rider. This size distinction varies between places too and often they are arbitrary sizes set for the show ring. Some horses are more pony-ish in their behavior and physiology, and some ponies more horse-like. In fairness to the riders and these mounts, these size standards help prevent ponies and small horses from showing against larger animals, whose size might give them an advantage. It also isn’t safe to have very small children on tiny ponies riding around the same ring with larger horses.

Pony-Size Horses

Some breeds that are under the 14.2/14 hand mark are considered horses. Examples would be the Miniature Horse and the Icelandic Horse. Both are the size of ponies but are called horses. In the case of the Miniature Horse, most will have small ponies, such as Shetlands in their pedigrees, and it’s unlikely to find any actual horse breeds. Others like the Welsh Pony will have individuals above the pony height standards, but may still be regarded as a pony. Some horse breeds have individuals of pony size, such as the Morgan Horse, American Quarter Horse, and many gaited breeds such as the Paso Fino and Kentucky Mountain Horse.

Defining Characteristics

Some differences between horses and ponies may not be as easy to spot as the size. Horses and ponies often have very different temperaments. Ponies tend to be more stoic and intelligent than larger horses. It’s a mistake to see this as docility. They can be quite wily, which is why it’s sometimes easier to find a quiet horse for a child than a reliable pony. Ponies are very adept at avoiding work and withstanding the consequences. Horses can be quieter, and often the larger the breed, the more docile they are. This depends largely on what the horse breed was developed for.Ponies are incredibly strong for their size. They can pull or carry heavy loads with more strength than a horse, relative to their size. They are hardier than horses and can withstand greater ranges in temperature. Their coats tend to grow thicker in the winter, which often doesn’t shed out until the hottest days of summer. They begin to grow back their thick coats as soon as the days start to shorten. Ponies have thicker manes and tails. Their hooves tend to be tougher. They are heavier boned and shorter legged in proportion to their bodies compared to horses.