Are Ponies Smarter Than Horses

James Lee
• Monday, 12 October, 2020
• 8 min read

There are a number of distinct differences between horses and ponies that you should be aware of before making a choice. If you are searching for a long term equine companion, a pony is probably a better choice.

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These animals also tend to have fewer health problems, which is partially why they live longer than horses. Adult horses have a height that ranges from 4.7 to 6 feet, with a weight of 840 to 2,200 pounds.

While horses are much bigger than ponies, they aren’t as strong relative to their size. Most people don’t realize that ponies tend to be smarter than the biggest horses.

Horses don’t make as much noise as ponies on average, so you’ll also need to keep that in mind. It is generally easier to keep a pony than a horse in terms of their overall temperament.

It takes significantly longer for a pony to finish eating than a horse. One of the big challenges that people with ponies face is keeping them in shape.

Unlike horses, you cannot give ponies hay that has a high sugar content. Ponies have a tendency to overeat, so you need to be careful with how much food you give them each day.

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Healthcare costs tend to be significantly lower with ponies on a year-to-year basis, but they do live longer. This means that you will likely end up spending more on healthcare for a pony than a horse in the long term.

You can easily get a pony for around $1,000, while a fully matured horse can cost upwards of $3,000. The price difference largely depends on the type of horse you are thinking about getting.

The overall cost of owning a pony is more significantly than a horse, which is due to their longer lifespan. Horses cost more to take care of than ponies on an annual basis, but they don’t live as long as ponies.

Adult horses have a height of 4.7 to 6 feet, while ponies must be less than 58 inches to qualify for this classification. It is important that you keep track of how much you give your pony and how much it eats, as they are prone to excess weight gain.

Ponies require the same healthcare services as horses, including vaccinations and regular checkups. You can get a pony for about $1,000 on the low end, whereas adult horses cost upwards of a few thousand dollars.

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Handler, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel “Salvador Dali” and breedless friend called Kenya. Horses are smart; they learn to perform amazing feats that require an advanced level of intelligence and memory.

Indeed, their legendary cooperativeness toward their two-legged companions makes them appear unwise since it has caused them nothing but trouble over the centuries. They are such social animals and so responsive to the dictates of the tyrants of their species that there is nothing astounding about their readiness to subordinate themselves to powerful human beings.

It requires good sense organs to provide information about the environment: good memory to store the data in a retrievable form: and a complex brain to cross-refer the separate memories when searching for an answer to some new challenge. The problem with all questions of animal intelligence is finding some objective method of measuring it.

In the wild, prey and predator species differ slightly in their “styles” of intelligence. But if prey animals such as horses make a mistake, it can mean sudden death, and for this reason, they are particularly sensitive to experiences in which they suffer pain or fear.

One nasty moment in a particular place or with a specific individual and a horse may react violently the next time the situation is encountered. A mature horse suddenly rears up and bolts when confronted with a piece of apparatus or a particular location.

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Many errors are made in attempting to interpret such behavior, when in fact, the hidden explanation is usually that, as a tiny foal perhaps, the horse suffered one bad experience and has been harboring it ever since. This episode may make horses look stupid, but in equine terms, the opposite is the case.

They are simply judiciously cautious, and we should never refer to horses timidity as suggesting a lack of intelligence. In November 2016, two scientists, Mamie Ringer and Associate Professor Shiny Nakamoto published an article entitled Domestic horses send signals to humans when they face an unsolvable task http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-1056-4.

The scientist set up two problematic situations for the horses to solve to retrieve a treat. They were pretty creative and constructed the test to require the horse to seek human assistance to be successful.

During the first test, the horse remained close to the caretaker, looked at, touched, and pushed him. This action showed that when a horse needs help, it will ask for it as they did by looking and physically touching and pushing.

In the second test, the horses increased the signals to the caretaker, both in intensity and duration. These actions demonstrated that horses change their behavior in response to the knowledge levels of humans.

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These tests prove the flexible cognitive ability of a horse is a relatively high-level one. Tests analyzing the ability of horses to discriminate have produced some remarkable results.

When twenty pairs of patterns were offered, horses learned to tell them apart in every case (compared with thirteen in donkeys and ten in zebras). Even more impressive was the fact that twelve months after the training session, there was virtually no memory loss with nineteen out of the twenty pairs of patterns.

It is also essential that the learning is retained for a very long period–long enough for the appropriate reaction still to be there when the annual cycle of plant growth repeats itself. A group of us were leaning on a fence when a neighbor rode towards us on an Arabian and quickly expounded the horses breed’s virtues, which included being the smartest.

I have owners mention Arabians, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, and the list goes on. The horse would be asked this question by his owner and would then tap his foot six times.

At first, investigators believed that the animal’s owner must be giving clues to the horse, so they asked him to withdraw. The horse sensing them, as it were, holding their breath in case he made a mistake, stopped tapping and appeared to have calculated the solution to the mathematical problem.

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But after looking at the research in standard memory testing, horses seem to be smarter. Some people believe inherently that predatory animals have to be more intelligent because they have to learn to hunt for survival.

It is just too difficult to make a direct comparison of intelligence across species because there is no standard for “smart.” Just as we explained when we tried to compare dogs to horses, it is too difficult to decide on the relative level of intelligence between these two species.

Chimpanzees are believed to be the smartest animal, and they were tested against humans for numerical memory. Australian scientists tested goats to determine their reasoning, power, and memory.

The successful goats were tested again ten months later and performed much quicker, displaying their ability to learn and retain information. Dogs detect illness and lead the blind, and horses memorize difficult dressage patterns and can sense incoming weather.

By assessing these capabilities, we can start to compare our equine friends to our tail-wagging canine family members. While most domestic dogs aren't responsible for finding their own meals, they're still considered predators in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom.

dixon smart lil gelding bay horse jac horses
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It's a lot easier to munch on grass than it is to take down a rabbit, and behaviorists generally agree that predators have a kind of intelligence that prey animals lack. As herd animals, horses are able to protect themselves from harm, and living within that tight-knit community also gives them a strong sense of emotional and social intelligence.

They form relationships with other horses within the herd, and studies show those connections also extend to humans. A horse named Clever Hans, for example, is revered as one of the smartest domestic animals of his time.

It was once believed that Hans, an Orlon Trotter horse, could do complex math and word problems. Hans responded by tapping his hoof eleven times and delivering the correct answer.

Hans responded to a person's involuntary body language to give the correct answer every time. When Hans was blindfolded or otherwise unable to see the person who asked, he would simply keep tapping his foot with no clues to give him the right answer.

Another facet of measuring animal intelligence is how quickly they can learn a new skill and remember that newfound knowledge. From the basic “sit” to more complex behaviors, we all know dogs are capable of learning countless skills.

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But while trick training is more closely related to dog than horses, you can't discount a horse's ability to learn and remember. How quickly a dog or horse learns is related more to the trainer's skill and not the individual animal's intelligence.

While horses possess strong emotional intelligence and an intuition that's hard to beat, dogs learn new skills quickly and adapt well to life with humans. Both animals are capable of impressive cognitive abilities, and evidence shows both horses and dogs have their strengths and weaknesses.

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