Pony Riders - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Smile Pony Riders

Hi! SO I am new to this forum, but have read/heard a lot of controversy about adults/older kids riding ponies. I know that a lot of pony breeds were originally bred to carry grown men all day on farmland, but nowadays people (especially americans) say that only small kids should ride ponies? Kids as in Pony Clubbers and none under the age of like, 13. I don't really get this, a lot of riders from UK seem to be fine with adults riding ponies, but here people are all freaked out about it. I am about 5'5", maybe 5'6", and I have been riding and jumping a 20 something 13.2hh gelding 2'3" for the past 6 months. (I lease him). He has shown no problems AT ALL with me riding him, but I know that some riders my height won't ride anything smaller that 15hh? If people are so biased about older/bigger people riding ponies, then how do any of them get trained? Don't larger people have to train the small ones to be ridable anyway? And also, i've seen a ton of ponies at the barn I ride at that are complete BRATS! THey need older/bigger riders in order to stay in check. What is your guy's opinion on taller/larger people riding ponies? Does anyone know the pony club weight limits on this?
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post #2 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 12:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
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I ride our pony/ borderline horse. Though she's stocky and healthy. I'm 6'. I really haven't seen too much bias of rider vs horse/ pony size around here. Heck, a lot of rodeo horses are under 15hh. And we have a rodeo 10 miles from the house every weekend in the summer.
That being said, I've read a lot of size questions on here. While I think cultural and regional common practices vary play into it a lot, I also think that the common questions get more notice as they show up in search results. Which will obviously bring up the resulting debates.
My opinion? A healthy, well built, in shape pony can carry an average grown man or woman safely. Common sense being as lacking as it is most if the time, extremes will be pushed. And folks who are smart enough to consider what they intend to accomplish will do so safely and effectively.
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post #3 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 02:43 AM
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I am 5'7" and 115lbs and have every intention of starting my 12.3hh Fjord this summer. People I board with and BOs think I'm nuts, not about concerns for her health, just that I would enjoy riding something so small.

I prefer horses on the shorter side (15.2hh and under) anyway and am extremely excited to see how well her training continues, as I would love to go out on trails on her next to my friends who have 16hh+ horses.
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post #4 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 03:20 AM
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Hey now! Im 6' with my boots on and i ride a pony.. technically a pony.. a 14 hand walker.. i broke her 13 hand colt too, lol.

When i was a kid i rode a near 17 hand workin cow horse and id always trade her to ride the 12 hand haflinger cross pony because she was so fun! Most ponys are little jerks- but this mare was the most precious creature ive ever met! I blame the haflinger side, lol. Theyre real sweet 'horses' id ride one before i rode the tall horse for sure-- riding ponies is just good fun! Im all like this lol.

15.2 is short?!
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post #5 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 04:21 AM
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15.2 is actually a pretty good sized horse. It's bigger than you think.

I think it depends a lot on build. Ponies who are bred to carry heavier things are built for it, but some short horses are in fact pretty frail, just as some larger horses are frail. I am 5'2''. My mare is 13.3, reining and cowhorse bred, and is very sturdy. I let most anyone ride her. I like big horses but I search for athleticism more than anything, and to be honest I can't climb on large horses unless they are really good at holding still.

I have, however, seen frail 15hh horses with light bone that I wouldn't put a heavy man on. Also seen small ponies who could go all day, and vice versa. It really is relative to breed and build more so than size.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 06:03 AM
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The only comments I've seen regarding the size of people riding ponies have been directed towards people obviously far to big for the pony.

I have no problem with adults riding ponies, in fact I 100% agree that a younger pony needs a smaller adult/teen to hop on every now and then for a "tune up". I'm only 5'1 so was often handed that job through the years.
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post #7 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 07:24 AM
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You see the comments more in the dressage/english world of riding than the western world. The preferred "image" seems to be a small rider on a huge horse. However, even that has seemed to be changing as a few ponies have made big names for themselves and people like Lendon Gray promote them.

I'm 5'8 and I rode a 13.3 hand haflinger for close to 10 years and now have a 14.2 hand mustang. The main thing is looking for a sturdy build with no major conformation issues. I had a 13.3 hand Quarter horse that I never even attempted to get on as she was fine boned and truely just a small-horse rather than a pony despite her height.
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post #8 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 08:47 AM
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I see more western riders around here riding smaller horses/ponies.
My husband and I trail ride and both have smaller horses. My husband is 6'3" and rides a qh just under 14.3 hands. He has no problem carrying my husband on long rides. He is large bodied so takes up a lot of leg and my hubby looks fine on him. I am 5'4" and right around 125 pounds and ride a 14.1 hand mule, and I am going to go look at a haffie cross soon that is also 14.1. I don't think I'd be comfortable on anything smaller, but I certianly don't want anything larger than 15 hands because I have a hard time getting my saddle situated on anything taller!
If anyone rides with us on a taller horse then they get to clear all the spider webs on the trails with their face
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post #9 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Cat, you're completely right! I don't see nearly as many western riders put up a fuss about larger people riding ponies, probably because there are some small quarter-horsey types that are built like tanks! Probably the reason why english riders are so opposed to it is because that the breeds we consider "ideal" for competition are 15-17+hh warmbloods and thoroughbreds. I found the pony club weight standards for rallies, they are as follows:
<12.2hh (smalls): rider weight must not exceed 117lbs
12.2-13.2hh (mediums): rider weight must not exceed 150lbs
13.2-14.2hh (larges): rider weight must not exceed 180lbs
And idk if this includes tack or not, which could potentially add a lot of weight.
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post #10 of 40 Old 05-01-2013, 12:59 PM
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I think, like with a lot of things, it depends on all of the variables involved. You can't generalize pony riding and adults.

My pony is 14.1hh, but she is very stocky and short-backed. Her compact size has never made me feel an adult is too big for her. I would never ride a horse I felt too big on and I never feel to big for her, even though I am overweight. My father rode her. Even though he weighs a little less than me, he is taller and he was fine too.

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