Ponies are a favorite for children, popular for showing, and are sports ponies too!

Ponies are the smallest of the horse breeds. They are sturdy little horses originating from harsh and rugged terrains. Many were used as work animals, often as draft horses to pull loads and carts. Like the draft horse breeds, pony breeds are heavy bodied with thick coats and manes. But ponies are shorter, and overall are much smaller than those large, heavy horse breeds.

Ponies are growing in popularity for sport and recreation. They make a pleasurable riding horse. Many excel in equestrian disciplines and in the show ring. The top ponies are even competitive against full size horse breeds.

Many riders today are looking for a mount that is more closely aligned with their physique and abilities.The smaller pony breeds are often better suited for beginners, as well as small stature equestrians, than the larger light horses or draft horses. With a range of sizes, usually from 12 hands to 14 hands high, one of the pony breeds can usually make a perfect fit.

Ponies are especially popular for children due to their smaller size. This is because they are closer to the ground. They are notable for having a superior intelligence. Ponies are mostly even mannered with a good temperament, but some can tend to be stubborn. When well trained however, they are easily controlled and maneuvered.

The list of pony breeds below includes the popular ponies, as well as those that are lesser known. Each pony breed horse guide provides in-depth information about their origins and background. There is a description with pictures, pony care, feeding, training, and the activities they are best suited for as well as potential problems.

For information about other horse breeds, see:
Light Horses and Draft Horses

Horse Backgrounds: Horse Facts About Ponies

Ponies are small sturdy horses with an ancestry stretching back to the primitive Ice Age pony; a miniature horse that was about 12 hands high with a small, short head. Many of the Pony breeds evolved in environments where the landscape was rugged and harsh with inferior nutrition, resulting in a smaller horse.

Ponies have been developed all over the world. Throughout their history they have been used as work animals for driving and pulling carts, hauling loads such as coal from mines, and as children’s mounts. Later they became used for competition and performance, along with pleasure riding.

Ponies are generally considered to be 14.2 hands or smaller at maturity, however this is a general rule with many exceptions. Pony breeds have a slightly different appearance than the light horse breeds. They usually have thicker manes, tails and coats. They are proportionately shorter legged and rounder through the barrel. They have somewhat shorter and thicker necks and wider, stronger bones.

Horse Breeds: Types of Ponies

Some popular Pony Breeds include:

  • American Sport Pony
  • American Quarter Pony
  • British Riding Pony
  • Chincoteague Pony
  • Connemara Pony
  • Dales Pony
  • Dartmoor Pony
  • Exmoor Pony
  • Fell Pony
  • German Riding Pony
  • Gotland Pony
  • Hackney Pony
  • Highland Pony
  • Kerry Bog Pony
  • Shetland Pony
  • Moorland Pony
  • Mountain Pony
  • New Forest Pony
  • Pennine Pony
  • Pony of the Americas
  • Welara Pony
  • Welsh Pony
  • Welsh Cob

Horse Care Tips and Uses: Equestrian Disciplines

Ponies are extremely hardy and noted for their gentle natures. They generally require less diligence in their care and often tend to be more independent than the other types of horses.

The even tempered Ponies make delightful mounts with a comfortable gait. They are especially popular for children due to their smaller size.They are closer to the ground and when well trained, are easily controlled and maneuvered.

Ponies are well known for their superior intelligence and with good horse training, more tractable temperaments. Well trained ponies can make wonderful mounts for children. Their small sizes make them less intimidating and are more closely matched to a child’s size and strength. They do well in many disciplines including driving, hunters on the flat and over fences, western driving classes, and pleasure riding. The can also show in dressage, equitation, and other events, with top ponies even being competitive against full sized horses.

For More Pony Information, See this article: Ponies: Information and Horse Care For Pony Breeds

Featured Image Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay