I've never had an issue ponying any horse (and, as a trail guide who gets a lot of children who can't control their horse, I pony a lot; and not just for conditioning). I've ponied a 16 hh gelding on a 16 hh mare. Size shouldn't matter (obviously it would if you were on a 13 hh pony trying to lead a 17 hh horse ROFL).
When you choose you "pony leader," make sure you have a horse that's calm and won't lash out against your horse. A good way I learned to pony is to wrap the lead rope around my saddle horn once and holding it with my free hand (keep your thumb against your index finger; if the "pony" pulls back or spooks you can actually damage your hand). By wrapping it once you insure that if you have to let go, it won't get into a tangled mess. And if your pony starts to drag you can get a little "oomph" from your horse helping to pull it a little.
Also, be sure to expose the horse to as many things as possible (ditches, people walking, etc) and don't make a big fuss of it yourself. By having a calm, experienced horse in front the pony will say, "Hey, this isn't going to eat me" and will fret less over obstacles and objects. But, just in case, you always have that lead to let go of.
To help prevent any malice going on in the rear end (you know how young horses can be, I'm sure), I like to keep the pony's head about even with my leg. When I go down/up a hill or through a narrow passage, I give the lead some slack so s/he can fall in behind my horse. Once done, I bring the horse back up to my leg. This also helps my mount be less worried about if this "kid" behind them is going to bite or cause trouble (I have had a horse do this; when the filly was behind us she would move her nose behind his butt and he would threaten to kick her -- he was insecure having her behind him). That was an instance where I was glad to have let go of the lead; otherwise, I could have been pulled from my horse! (Which is another good thing with the saddle horn; I wasn't wrecked because I was able to safely release the rope without pulling my shoulder.)
"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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Last edited by Creampuff; 02-03-2011 at 10:36 PM.