I started with a pony. Got him when I was three (I just posted an ancient photo of us on another thread) and had him until I was twelve. I learned A LOT with him. I would just jump on him with no saddle or bridle in rain, shine, sleet or snow! I'm glad I started with a pony...however, I started my own girls with a pony and they just never took to riding. I think Scoutrider hit the nail on the head. Even though he was gentle 95% of the time and very lazy they got frustrated by the pony attitude. If I were to do it all over again with them, I'd go with an older, dead broke horse.
Stella - sweet, timid, elegant, lovely, lively, amazing
Luna - large, unattractive, naughty, adored