A pony is a small horse (Equus ferus caballus). Depending on 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. There are many different breeds. Compared to other horses, ponies often exhibit thicker manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, thicker necks, and shorter heads with broader foreheads. The word pony derives from the old French poulenet, meaning foal, a young, immature horse, but this is not the modern meaning; unlike a horse foal, a pony remains small when fully grown. On occasion, people who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a foal.
The ancestors of most modern ponies developed small stature because they lived on marginally livable horse habitat. These smaller animals were domesticated and bred for various purposes all over the Northern Hemisphere. Ponies were historically used for driving and freight transport, as children's mounts, for recreational riding, and later as competitors and performers in their own right. During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Great Britain, a significant number were used as pit ponies, hauling loads of coal in the mines.
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, many organizations define a pony as a mature horse that measures less than 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm) at the withers, but there are a number of exceptions. Different organizations that use a strict measurement model vary from 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm) to nearly 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm). Many breeds classify an animal as either horse or pony based on pedigree and phenotype, no matter its height. Some full-sized horses may be called ponies as a term of endearment.
Horses and ponies
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 (58.27 in) (just over 14.2 h) without shoes and 149 centimetres (58.66 in) (just over 14.2–1/2 h) with shoes, though allows a margin for competition measurement of up to 150 centimetres (59.1 in) (14.3 h) without shoes, or 151 centimetres (59.45 in) (just under 14.3–1/2 h) with shoes. However, the term "pony" can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed. Furthermore, some horse breeds may have individuals who mature under that height but are still called "horses" and are allowed to compete as horses. In Australia, horses that measure from 14 hands to 15 hands are known as a "galloway", and ponies in Australia measure under 14 hands.
People who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a young, immature horse. While foals that will grow up to be horse-sized may be no taller than some ponies in their first months of life, their body proportions are very different. A pony can be ridden and put to work, while a foal is too young to be ridden or used as a working animal. Foals, whether they grow up to be horse or pony-sized, can be distinguished from adult horses by their extremely long legs and slim bodies. Their heads and eyes also exhibit juvenile characteristics. Furthermore, in most cases, nursing foals will be in very close proximity to a mare who is the mother (dam) of the foal. While ponies exhibit some neoteny with the wide foreheads and small size, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse.
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 of Equus ferus. 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; 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. Domestication of the horse probably first occurred in the Eurasian steppes with horses of between 13 hands (52 inches, 132 cm) to over 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm), and as horse domestication spread, the male descendants of the original stallion went on to be bred with local wild mares.
Domesticated 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.
Ponies 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. Ponies compete at events that include show hunter, English riding on the flat, driving, and western riding classes at horse shows, as well as other competitive events such as gymkhana and combined driving. They are seen in casual pursuits such as trail riding, but a few ponies have performed in international-level competition. Though many exhibitors confine themselves to classes just for ponies, some top ponies are competitive against full-sized horses. For example, a 14.1 hand pony named Stroller was a member of the British Equestrian show jumping team, and won the silver medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics. More recently, the 14.1-3/4 hand pony Theodore O'Connor won the gold medal in eventing at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Pony Clubs, open to young people who own either horses or ponies, are formed worldwide to educate young people about horses, promote responsible horse ownership, and also sponsor competitive events for young people and smaller horses.
In many parts of the world ponies are also still used as working animals, as pack animals and for pulling various horse-drawn vehicles. They are used for children's pony rides at traveling carnivals and at children's private parties where small children can take short rides on ponies that are saddled and then either led individually or hitched to a "pony wheel" (a non-motorized device akin to a hot walker) that leads six to eight ponies at a time. Ponies are sometimes seen at summer camps for children, and are widely used for pony trekking and other forms of Equitourism riding holidays, often carrying adults as well as children. Ponies are used for riding Kedarnath pilgrims in India.
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. Draft-type ponies are able to pull loads significantly greater than their own weight, with larger ponies capable of pulling loads comparable to those pulled by full-sized draft horses, and even very small ponies are able to pull as much as 450 percent of their own weight.
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. The differences of opinion often result from an individual pony's degree of proper training. 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. 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.
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 (137.16 cm)), and large ponies are over 13.2 hands but no taller than 14.2 hands (58 inches (147.32 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, usually no taller than 38 inches (97 cm) at the withers. However, there are also miniature pony breeds.Read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony
- The evolution of the horse: part4 - Modern horses - Equus
- The evolution of the horse: part 3 - The forest-suited form was Kalobatippus whose second and fourth front toes were long, well-suited travel [...]
- The evolution of the horse: part 2 - Eocene and Oligocene: early equids - Eohippus, Orohippus, Epihippus, Mesohippus and Miohippus
- The evolution of the horse, a mammal of the family Equidae, occurred over a geologic time scale of 50 million years, transforming the small [...]
- Equine coronavirus is NOT the same as the strain of coronavirus referred to as COVID-19, and cannot be transmitted to humans.
- Hippodrama, horse drama, or equestrian drama is a genre of theatrical show blending circus horsemanship display with popular [...]
- Since it's Valentine's Day we thought we'd share the love with five fun (and interesting) Valentine's Day related facts about your horse [...]
- For centuries, humans have shared a special bond with horses, so it makes sense that there is no shortage of books about them.
- Barns and stables, filled with highly flammable hay, bedding, and feed, are a big fire risk. Add the presence of panicked animals and you have [...]
- Compared to other horses, ponies often exhibit thicker manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter [...]
- The history of the modern circus is deeply rooted in horsemanship. The first modern circuses, which took place during the 18th century [...]
- Arabian horses are the topic of many myths and legends. One origin story tells how Muhammad chose his foundation mares by a test of their [...]
- If our horses could share their New Year's Resolutions, we bet they'd go something like this [...]
- The trick to winning the race, advises a wise Paddy Payne to daughter Michelle, is to go a steady pace until finding [...]
- A pantomime horse is a theatrical representation of a horse or other quadruped by two actors in a single costume who cooperate and [...]
- Orbaks are the space horses in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" directed by J.J. Abrams
- The Nokk is a character in Disney’s 2019 animated feature Frozen II. It is the horse-shaped elemental spirit of [...]
- New Year's Day is an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Racing only as a two-year-old he won two of his three races including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
- Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. While your horse can't speak, we'll bet that he's thankful for a whole lot this Thanksgiving.
- The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus, which includes as subspecies the modern domesticated horse [...]
- Virtual horse games sound like something for small children, but plenty of adults play them. Sometimes they are horse lovers [...]
- The Banker horse is a breed of feral horse (Equus ferus caballus) living on barrier islands in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
- Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements and training for the battlefield, and has since developed into the competitive dressage seen today.
- White horses are born white and stay white throughout their lives. White horses may have brown, blue, or hazel eyes.
- Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and [...]
- White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. They are often associated with the sun chariot [...]
- In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. traveled to England, visiting Epsom in Surrey where The Derby had been running annually since 1780.
- Pegasus is a mythical winged divine horse, and one of the most recognized creatures in Greek mythology.
- The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. In each discipline, both individual and team medals are awarded.
- When you are looking to buy or sell property you are sure to have certain things in mind. This is a possibility especially if you have a specific need for it.
- If you are thinking of buying or selling horse property, register with a leading website that focuses on equine properties for sale.
- Unlike buying a home or a property, when it comes to buying an equestrian property to raise horses, the whole concept is something entirely different.
- You can sell equestrian real estate without much difficulty because there are unique websites that cater to buyers & sellers from around the world.
- There are several equestrian properties for sale but it is necessary to consider some basic points before you invest in a property.
- When you are planning your horse property for listing, do it through a popular and reliable website for equine real estate.
- Perhaps the most famous warhorse remains disputed; nonetheless, according to legend The TROJAN HORSE
- Horse racing in the United States dates back to 1665, which saw the establishment of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York.
- The American Quarter Horse, the official State Horse of Texas, is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances.
- Horse racing is a sport that translates well to board games. These are our picks for the best horse-racing board games.
- Between adhering to building codes and choosing the best equipment, there are many details to bear in mind when planning your dream stall barn.
- A movie ranch is a ranch that is at least partially dedicated for the creation and production of motion pictures and television productions.
- Everyone adores horses, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are tons of movies starring these beautiful creatures.
- Horses have captured the imagination and emotion of mankind for centuries – perhaps, in a way that no other species of animal ever has.
- Horse farms are often considered one of the most “green” businesses in agriculture. We don’t spread undue amounts of chemical fertilizer.
- Do you dream of owning your own stable, or perhaps just owning a place where you can keep your horses in the backyard?
- Anne Kusian, Arabian horse breeder and riding instructor are giving you a flavor of what are the advantages of owning a horse ranch.