Are Ponies Their Own Breed

Ava Flores
• Sunday, 03 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Their offspring are typically hardy and have exceptional temperaments, which make them suitable for many equine activities. Horse and ponies have a lot in common; they are two of seven members of the Equine family, which also includes donkeys and zebras.

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(Source: cowgirlmagazine.com)


Different species of Equine have bred throughout history and produced viable hybrids, most notably is the mule. There is no marked difference between horses and ponies that prevent crossbreeding of their species.

The ability of the horses and ponies mate and produce a viable foal is a testament to the underlying similarities of their genetic structures. When the animals are left to thereon devices, each forms small herds with a dominant male.

But it is essential to recognize the characteristics of the horse and pony you intend to breed. The pleasant temperament of ponies is a primary factor for breeding with horses.

Ponies also have broad barrel chests, dense bones, thick necks, and short heads. Horses come in all shapes and sizes, but they typically have thinner coats, longer legs, and necks than ponies.

However, not all agree with this, English breeders artificially inseminated Shetland mares with Shire semen with no ill effects. On more than one occasion, I have heard of cows and horses with oversized babies that had to be surgically removed by a veterinarian.

pony breeds shetland adults children magazine
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Shetland pony stallions are commonly crossed with horses, because of their small size, thick bones, and desirable temperament. Shetland ponies are strong and durable animals that have a long life span.

They evolved in the harsh environment of the Shetland Islands, where forage was scarce, but they were required to work. For horses that may need more substantial bone or a calm temperament, the Shetland pony makes an ideal cross.

Pony of the Americas is a horse breed that originated from crossbreeding a Shetland stallion and an Appaloosa mare. Leslie Borrower purchased the Appaloosa mare and her foal named Black Hand.

Black Hand impressed his owner so much that Ms. Borrower started a new breed with him as the foundation stud. A Highland Pony, demonstrating the pony characteristics of sturdy bone, a thick mane and tail, a small head, and small overall size. A pony is a small horse (Equus ferns Catullus).

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 other horses, ponies often exhibit thick manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, thicker necks, and shorter heads with broader foreheads.

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The word pony derives from the old French opulent, 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 than competitors and performers in thereon right. During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Great Britain, a significant number were used as pit ponies, hauling loads of coal in the mines.

Properly trained ponies are appropriate mounts for children who are learning to ride. 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.

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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. The International Federation for Equestrian Sports defines the official cutoff point at 148 centimeters (58.3 in; 14.2 hands) without shoes and 149 centimeters (58.66 in; 14.2 1 2 hands) with shoes, though allows a margin for competition measurement of up to 150 centimeters (59.1 in; 14.3 hands) without shoes, or 151 centimeters (59.45 in; 14.3 1 2 hands) with shoes.

However, the term “pony” can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed. In Australia, horses that measure from 14 to 15 hands (142 to 152 cm; 56 to 60 inches) are known as a Galloway “, and ponies in Australia measure under 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm).

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. While ponies exhibit some Neogene with the wide foreheads and small size, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse.

Ponies originally developed as a land race 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 ferns.

Studies of mitochondrial DNA (which is passed on though the female line) indicate that many 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.

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(Source: www.horsemart.co.uk)

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. 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 Ecotourism riding holidays, often carrying adults as well as children. Ponies are used for riding Kesäranta 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. Pony breeds have developed all over the world, particularly in cold and harsh climates where hardy, sturdy working animals were needed.

Breeds such as the Connemara pony are recognized for their ability to carry a full-sized adult rider. 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.

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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.

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; 9.2 hands) at the withers. This is usually due to body build, traditional uses and overall physiology.

In cases such as these, there can be considerable debate over whether to call certain breeds “horses” or ponies.” In some breeds, such as the Welsh pony, the horse-versus-pony controversy is resolved by creating separate divisions for consistently horse-sized animals, such as the “Section D” Welsh Cob.

The term “pony” is also sometimes used to describe a full-sized horse in a humorous or affectionate sense. Persons up to 25 years old are eligible for membership, and some members' ponies actually are full-size horses.

breeding miniature horses horse pony vs mare difference foal things during
(Source: hubpages.com)

^ “PONY MEASUREMENT 2007 30 January 2007 Explanation of Article 3103.1, International Federation for Equestrian Sport Website, Accessed October 7, 2009, Archived 26 July 2011 at the Payback Machine ^ Owlet, Lorna and Philip Mathews, Ponies in Australia, Mil sons Point: 1979 ^ Bennett, Deb (1998). ^ Jansen, Thomas; Forster, Peter; Levine, Marsha A.; Else, Hardy; Hurdles, Matthew; Renfrew, Colin; Weber, Jürgen; Ole, Klaus (6 August 2002).

“Limited number of patricides in horse domestication” (PDF). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.

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 Catullus) 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. 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.

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It also isn’t safe to have very small children on tiny ponies riding around the same ring with larger horses. 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.

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.

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