A Question on Pony Size - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Smile A Question on Pony Size

So, we were recently given a gelded, 2 year old pony. He's a bit on the wild side, since he's just lived out in a pasture all his life, but even after 4 days of me working with him, I can walk up and pet him, and he lets me put his halter on and off... (which is WAY more than people could do at his last home.) They used to run him down with another horse, lasso him, and drag him back to the gate to get his halter on.... But he's super smart, and is VERY willing to work with someone who isn't trying to fight him.... But, anyway....

What I wanted to ask was a few things..... Mostly on size.

1. His former owners got him when he was just a yearling. His mom was primarily Ariegeois, and his dad was a welsh cross. (though that's just what I'm told, I didn't personally see them) He is currently very small, (which is what we were looking for) right around 9.2 hands.... But, he's also only 2 years old.... What do you think he'll max out at? It doesn't make a huge difference to me, (I mean, so long as he doesn't become a 16 hand horse, which I don't see happening) Just curious...

2. Since he needs LOTS of work, when he is older, do you suppose I am small enough to break him in? I am 5 feet and 115 lbs.... And I'm 21.... So I am just a very small person.... And I don't mean for regular use.... just to teach him to ride? (but, of course that won't be until we master EVERYTHING on the ground! And, with a VERY light weight saddle)

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post #2 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 01:09 PM
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What do you think he'll max out at?
string test him. Hold one end of a string at his coronet band, then run the other end up to the joint in the middle of his knee. remove(either mark the string or maintain a firm grip) and measure the distance in inches, then translate to hands. For example, I measured a yearling yesterday that tested 15.1hh. she's 14hh, so that seems likely.

It works as long as the lower leg bones are done growing, so anytime after 6 months. I tested a 6 year old gelding just for fun, he tested 16.2, and he stood 16.2hh. Its fairly accurate, within 2 inches I find.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 01:47 PM
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Blue Sparks height method is good.

I'm about your size, my instructor would have me ride the small children's ponies to give them a workout with an adult. You should be fine, but keep in mind a horse should not carry any more than 20% of it's own bodyweight, this includes tack too.

Weight the pony as best you can (weight tape, measurement formula et) and subtract 80% from the total and that'll tell you how much he can safely handle.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 03:12 PM
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I don't assume you are talking about backing him now, but I can't imagine even a 5' person on a 38" pony unless he is very substantial in build. I would be very hesitant to have a 100 lbs person on him if he was less than 12 hh.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies guys! I'll try the string method. And I understand the 20% body weight rule, and that includes tack. :) I will get his weight, and post a pic of him. I appreciate all the input!
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 05:57 PM
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Personally I think that even if he hits 40" tall (10hh) you are far too big to break him to saddle. Not because you are fast or even tall but because he is a VERY small pony. At 9.2hh he is actually the height of a large miniautr horse right now. I am 4'10 1/2 and weigh 85-90 lbs. I can balance well on a pony. Even so, I wouldn't ever ride a 10hh pony even if it was sturdy. Thee smallest I have ever ridden was 11.1 hh and as sturdy as all get out, but I felt very awkward on him and he had trouble carrying me faster than a trot for more than 5 minutes. That isn't enough to sufficiently break a horse. The biggest problem I had besides that was that h really could not teach him proper leg cues because even with my short legs, they could wrap around his belly. It was hard to center myself on him. And he was 5" taller than 40 inches! You would also have to ride in a child's saddle which would be uncomfortable for you and him. Any larger and it could hurt him because it should never go past a certain number of his ribs. Bareback would be bad as well due to the amount of pressure in a concentrated area.

I currently ride a sturdy Caspian mare, who is a hair under 12.2 hh and very capable of carrying me at all gaits now that she is in shape. Still, even though she is fat, my feet are a bit below her belly. Being that you weigh more than I do and are taller, I personally wouldn't want to see you on anything less sturdy or tall than she is. Nothing less than 12hh at more than a walk.

You can check his weight compared to yours, but don't forget that if he is fat, that overweight amount doesn't count. If he weighs 400 lbs but should only be 350, you can't assume he can carry 80 lbs rather than 70. (By the way he probably isn't 400 lbs. My 9hh miniature horse weighed 235 when slightly chubby.)

Sorry to be a stick in the mud but if you want to break a pony I really think it is best to find one taller. Green horses are uncoordinated at best, so they don't even know how to properly use their muscles to carry a rider, much less one that will likely be upwards of 35% of their bodyweight.

All of that being said are you guessing his height or did you measure him? If he is the breeds that his first owners said, I would think he would grow to be 11.2-12hh at least, but if he is already 2 and only 9.2 hh....hmmm. Guess you will just have to string test then wait to see. Either way if he does reach 12hh my advice would be to wait til hr is 4 or so since you will be a bit heavy for him, then if you feel like you absolutely must, break him to ride at a walk, maybe trot and let it be. If he isn't needed for riding though I would just teach him to drive instead. I did that eoitj my mini made and loved it!!!
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Last edited by Endiku; 09-17-2014 at 06:03 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 06:35 PM
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At that size he probably be best for driving.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-17-2014, 11:59 PM
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I'm in the drive don't ride group.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-19-2014, 02:36 AM
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You are absolutely & positively, no doubt, way too big for him! You'd probably be OK for a well built 11.2hh pony, as about the smallest, for light riding.

Mini's don't generally tend to grow *up* all that much past 2yo IME & while he'll likely fill out a bit(don't let him 'fill out' too much!) & may grow a couple of inches, basically, what you see is what you have. BUT another consideration, especially if you're considering riding a too small horse, is that their skeleton and joints are still 'green' and not hard & mature until around 5-6yo *whatever the breed!* so I wouldn't be doing anything much weightbearing or high impact with him for a few years yet anyway.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-19-2014, 03:15 AM
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I have ridden many small ponies when I was at the distant weight of 114 lbs. and I was 5'9""
He will not be ready for riding for at least a year and in that time you could get your weight down by 20+ pounds you would be better for it and able to school this pony.
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