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Are Ponies Just Small Horses

author
James Smith
• Thursday, 05 November, 2020
• 10 min read

Both horses and ponies are of the same species (Equus Catullus) and come from the exact same family tree. However, ponies stay small their whole life, maturing more quickly than horses.

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Contents

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.

It also isn’t safe to have very small children on tiny ponies riding around the same ring with larger horses. Some differences between horses and ponies may not be as easy to spot as the size.

They can be quite wily, which is why it’s sometimes easier to find a quiet horse for a child than a reliable pony. They can pull or carry heavy loads with more strength than a horse, relative to their size.

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.

They are heavier boned and shorter legged in proportion to their bodies compared to horses. Ponies can eke out nutrition from a pasture that a horse would starve on.

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In fact, it’s very easy to overfeed a pony, which makes them more prone to founder and laminates than horses. While some horses can be ‘hard keepers’ most ponies are the extreme opposite, apparently putting on weight just looking at the grass on the other side of the fence.

They are proportioned differently than a full-sized horse, with shorter legs, wider barrels, and a thicker neck. The current miniature horse is bred to be more refined than the pony, with a long, flexible neck, straight legs, and a short back.

The roles ponies and minis have played in history have contributed to their current size, appearance, and temperament. Miniature Horses were originally brought to the United States to work in coal mines, as their small size enabled them to access underground tunnels.

They have also been bred in South America over time to develop the current petite and proportional ideal standard, epitomized by the tiny Flagella. Ponies are stockier and hardier than most horses ; they had to survive in harsh climates and on rugged terrain.

They first appeared as domesticated stock in the United States the 1800s to be used in coal mines and for agricultural work and driving. Some Miniature Horses are owned as companions by families with small children or by retired adults with a passion to enjoy life, while others are purchased solely as investments.” Minis have also become increasingly popular therapy animals.

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Ponies come in a wide variety of breeds, and they are especially popular children’s mounts, competing in just about any type of equestrian sport, whether it be jumping, evening, driving, and more. In some communities, ponies are still used for farm work because their strength enables them to pull heavy equipment.

Though there may always be some wiggle room when it comes to classifying and defining horses, ponies, and Minis, hopefully this clears things up a bit for our petite equine friends. HorsePonyHeightOver 14.2Under 14.2Coat and HairFineCoarse, thick coat, and thick mane, and tail Head and Neck Long head and neck with large ears and eyes Short head and neck with large eyes and tiny earsBodyProportionateStocky, and broad, round chestLegsLongShort legs with hardy hoovesFeedingVaries by breeders keepersBone Varies by breadstick, dense bonesTemperamentVaries by breedIntelligent, friendly, but can be cunningOriginsVaries by freehold European Climates Ponies and horses have several differences and similarities.

Ponies typically have thick coats, manes, and tails, while horses hair is much more delicate. Ponies and horses are members of Equus Catullus species, so they do have a lot in common.

Quick links: The most apparent differences between ponies and horses are their height. The standard rule is under 14.2 hands, and the equine is a pony, over 14.2, and the animal is a horse, but in reality, it’s not that simple.

A difference between ponies and horses are the thickness of their coats, and coarseness of their hair. Most pony breeds originate from cold climates areas with rough terrains.

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Through the evolutionary process, they developed thick hair and coats that insulate them and keep them warm even in frigid climates. A ponies coat is relatively thick year-round but adds extra protection during cold seasons.

Most horses, on the other hand, have thin coats in the summer and only grow denser hair during cold seasons. Some horses don’t develop hair thick enough to protect against frigid weather adequately.

Thin coats are especially prevalent in breeds that originate in warm climates, such as the Arabian and Akhil Take’s. It typically refers to bone length, thickness, joint angles, and overall equine balance.

Ponies may not look as graceful as horses, but their body has incredible pulling power. Ponies can pull loads of great weight, and some can even haul as much as large draft horses.

Bodies Ponies have a round barrel chest with a broad, sprung rib cage. Ponies legs are short but powerful, and they also have strong, durable hooves.

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The test is limited to one horse breed, but it gives us at least one scientific sample to confirm our theory. Horses require higher quantities of protein and more minerals than a pony to maintain their health.

Pony breeds evolved in harsh environments with minimal forage. These conditions led to ponies ability to survive on low-quality forage, and thick coats to fend off the cold.

They make great equines for beginner riders and are an outstanding addition to most farms. Horses are not as easy to generalize; each breed exhibits distinct personality traits.

Shetland ponies roots run deep on the islands, there’s evidence of their existence going back four thousand years. These animals were ideally suited for the tasks, and they were small enough to easily navigate tunnels yet strong enough to pull carts burdened with heavy loads coal.

The native ponies were crossbred to Arabian, Thoroughbreds, and Hackney horse in the Middle Ages to create the Welsh cobs. They’ve been productive in many equine activities because of their various sizes, including trail riding, show jumping, and farm work.

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The foundation stud was the offspring of a cross between a Shetland pony stallion and an Arabian/Appaloosa mare. For some breeds, it’s difficult to distinguish if they are a pony or a horse because the animals fit the requirements of both classifications.

The final word on if an animal is a “horse” or “pony” is left to the respective breed registries. But the Icelandic people absolutely consider their breed is a horse and not ponies.

In support of their position, they urge the equines’ genetic makeup, intelligence, and strength, which they say all point to these animals being horses. Walk, trot, gallop, which are standard in all horse breeds, but they also have two more speeds, told, and flying pace.

Horses executing these different gaits at expert levels is highly desired. The Icelandic horse is spirited with a gentle temperament and is not easily spooked.

Iceland doesn’t have natural equine predators; because of this, the animals have a calm demeanor and are approachable. Ninety percent of all Fjord horses are dun, and most have thick upright manes.

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Another exciting feature is they exhibit primitive markings, and their manes have a dark center line resembling a stripe. Traditionally owners of Fjord horses clip their manes, which makes it easier to care for but also exposes their distinct stripe.

The Fjord horse has a thick coat that protects against the rough winters in the cold mountainous regions of Norway. Much like a pony, the Fjord horses are hardy, strong, and easy keepers.

Their bones are thick and body compact, they also have superior strength considering their small stature. Fjords, like ponies, are easy keepers.” They gain weight quickly and thrive on relatively little food.

Harbingers are a versatile horse breed used for pulling carts, endurance riding, and even dressage. They are also powerful, and these small animals have no problem carrying a full-sized rider or a loaded wagon with ease.

Harbingers are intelligent and similar to a pony; they act stubbornly and become challenging to work when guided by an inexperienced hand. A Harbinger exudes proportion and strides in rhythm while displaying good power from their hindquarters.

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They are known to find grass buried under deep snow with their exceptional sense of smell. In the harshest winters, the diet is supplemented with feed by the local Sakha people.

The Yakutsk horse gives back to the local people by providing milk and as a source of meat. The Sakha people use the horse’s hides and hair to make and decorate clothing.

Each year they hold their world’s championship competition at Kentucky’s state fair. Besides the healthy hooves and a small head, there are not many pony characteristics remaining in the breed.

However, the breed originates in England from crossbreeding Arabian horses and Welsh ponies. They have refined bones, thin coats, and lean bodies, more reflective of their Arabian ancestors than their thicker Welsh relatives.

This breed is roots trace back to ancient France, where they lived in the wild marshes and wetlands. These small hardy horses always have a gray coat color and black skin.

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They have a compact build, with strong limbs, a short neck, and a deep rounded chest They can easily carry grown adults. The animals have large bones, small ears, and strong hooves like many pony breeds.

Pony similarities These equines have a stocky build, with a deep barrel type chest. Their heads are small, and they have thick coats with long coarse manes and tails.

The use of Indian pony is just slang and not related to actual breed characteristics. Appaloosa has a colorful spotted coat pattern that makes it easy to distinguish.

It’s difficult to gauge how long they’ve been in existence precisely, but depictions of them were etched in the walls of caves in France during the Stone Age. Modern Appaloosa horses originate from the New Perez tribe in the northwestern United States.

Besides their similar height to ponies, the only other common trait is that Kentucky Mountain Saddle horses are “easy keepers.” Ponies and horses are members of Equus Catullus species, and have a lot of common traits.

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Sources
1 www.studbook.org.au - https://www.studbook.org.au/RulesAndServices.aspx
2 www.ashs.com.au - https://www.ashs.com.au/horses/information/rules-and-regulations/
3 www.thoroughbrednews.com.au - http://www.thoroughbrednews.com.au/News/Story/20003
4 clydesdalehorsesociety.com - https://clydesdalehorsesociety.com/passports/pedigree-rules