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I've been thinking about this lately. I feel like a lot of people really dislike ponies, or at the least consider them to be the evil little cousin of the nobler horse.

My Pony is great, and I think he's very pony-like. He's smart, curious, somewhat on the low-energy side, very food-motivated, and opinionated. Also, physically he seems like a typical pony to me: tough little hooves, round little body. He's also friendly, happy, fun, and brave, traits that I'm not sure are typical pony traits or are just his personality.

I love him, and God forbid he passes away while I am still young enough to get another horse, I'd be looking at ponies rather than horses, because my experience with him has been so great. Sure, things have not always been perfect between us; but once I learned that he liked to be consulted about things rather than just having them forced on him, and that he was very willing to do what you asked, if you just ASKED rather than demanded, things have been mostly great. I look forward to spending time with him, and I believe he looks forward to spending time with me. Looking at other people at my boarding barn, I don't see a lot of horses (or any, really) that really seem like they WANT to spend time with people. I don't know, is this a pony trait also?

I wish I knew how much all of his personality traits were just typical pony traits, and how much are him in particular. He's the only Pony I've had. As it is, I have a hard time understanding why so many people seem to hate ponies (or maybe love to hate them is a better way to put it), when I think mine is the best.

So, horse forum people, how do you feel about ponies? Love? Hate? Indifferent?
 

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A lot of mine have been negative but its my opinion the problem ponies were such due to human error, well like most horses too I guess. I've seen people manhandle ponies rather than teach them. The same with little dogs vs large dogs. Also a lot of ponies I've interacted with have been sour lesson ponies or have been handed from one family to the next as the child outgrew. Lots of ponies that were great for kids/teens now sat retired during their prime because they dont want to part with the animal but are too big to ride. Pony rearing? oooo funny, well sat little child! Horse rearing? KILL IT. OK, an over exaggeration but you get me. Or that ponies were mostly handled by uneducated and unsupervised children/teens and developed challenging behaviours. At the end of the day from a mini to a draught breed they are all so different and regardless which when I was able to spend time with the animal we always ended up having a good time. I have a huge soft spot for the oldies too.

You're a good human and you're his family of course he wants to spend time with you ;) Katie doesn't give two hoots about anyone but me or Aunty J (friend that cares for her on my days off). You also get owners that love their horse but dont do anything beyond turn up and ride. As for riding ponies it scares me. There's just nothing there :p And how am I expected to do rising trot that quick?!?! The acceleration too!
 

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Some I loved, others were 'characters' who tested the limits of my patience:ROFLMAO:.

In general, I respect them, and won't treat them any different to a horse. They're stronger than many give them credit for and usually have a good brain and a strong opinion, which needs to be focused on work unless you want serious trouble.

People underestimate them; they think smaller means easier and they forget that their ancestors survived in the roughest of conditions, which taught them to be resourceful, strong-willed, good-doers. It's not always a great combination in a first pony for a child or beginner rider/owner.

Most seem to be either the caring and gentle 'I'll look after you' type, or the opinionated 'I know what I'm doing, get out of my way' type.

I work with the larger ponies at the moment but I've been around all sizes and crosses in the past. Many of them were in schools and had great temperaments, yet they also knew when they were dealing with a beginner. I remember my mum disappearing because the little pony she had been asked to hold suddenly wanted to be elsewhere and took her for a walk.

Then there were the larger breeds of native ponies in my therapy classes who stood like statues while children clambered all over them, or they followed along at the children's heels like little pups.

While horses can be very similar, I've often thought that ponies have a different level of intelligence and awareness.
 

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My personal experience...
The barn I work at is all horses except for one pony. (not sure what breed he is; actually I really don't know much about his backstory at all. The things I know about him are really just from what I have experienced with him, and what I've heard from my coworkers.)
He is really a bossy little dude. He'll step on your boots so you can't escape, and while he has you trapped he bites you just because he feels like it. (And yes, that has happened on more than one occasion!!)
It's not too hard for most people to look past his naughty behavior though, as he is smaller than all the other horses at the barn, and as a result is "babied" by pretty much everyone, since he is tiny, cute, and (for the most part) more harmless than most of the other horses there due to his size. The best way I can think to explain my thoughts on him would probably be that if he were a horse, (bigger, stronger) I would be pretty terrified of him.
And of course I can't judge every pony in the world off of the one that I know best! But I have definitely heard more than one person talk about how annoying and rude ponies are.
Another thought about them, though- I think the main reason you hear people talk about ponies being mean more than you hear them talk about horses being mean is because for someone who hasn't been around ponies much before, they are seen them as cute, tiny, and harmless; a child's version of a horse. But perhaps in the big picture the amount of nasty ponies is similar to the amount of nasty horses. Maybe we just notice it less with the horses because we frequently experience (and therefore sometimes expect) that sort of behavior from them. 💙🐴
(Posting a picture of the little dude, hope it works, as this is my first comment/post on this forum!) 🙂
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I love ponies. At times they can be little devils, but they will teach you so much. Right now I have an extremely talented 14 hand pony that can jump 5 feet with ease. She is not always perfect but the most talented horses are always difficult. There are also some saintly ponies that put up with anything.
 

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I love ponies and have ridden lots of them and owned 4 of them. I was the happy owner of The World's Greatest Pony who was so fantastic with children. When we got him, he wasn't great at all. He reared and ran home with children. But he was misunderstood and not listened to. After I got him and showed him that we actually cared about him and wanted to know what he cared about, he turned into The World's Greatest Pony. I think ponies are smart and tend to look after themselves better than horses. If you want to bully and boss them, the "looking after themselves" becomes misbehavior because they don't appreciate being ordered around. On the other hand, "looking after themselves" means they can bully and boss you if you let them.

Here is our "World's Greatest Pony"

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I absolutely LOVE ponies. One of my old trainer called me her "Pony Pilot" because I was the only adult and experienced student she had that could fit on the ponies!

My mare of 15 years was a pony, and she wiped the floor in Hunters and Equitation (over fences) up against the big warmbloods. She was fantastic in jumpers as long as I could remember my course, haha! Just sit back, tell her where to go, and get out of her way so she could do her job. She was amazing on trails, so so so much fun to hack bareback (she had a big barrel), and just in general a really good little horse.

Now, on that same token, I will say that she could be PUSHY. Like, tear down a stall door pushy. She was stubborn and could throw fits over silly little things and HATED baths. She also had the habit of getting into bur bushes even though we THOUGHT we had cut them all down.

But overall, I get along with ponies very well and prefer them. They are like little dune buggies! I learned so much on my pony, and always tell people that if they can fit on a pony to get one.

She was the best little mare, and I miss her dearly every day. I now have 2 more ponies - a gypsy vanner and an arabian - and I love them both. They are so easy to get along with (for the most part), they both present unique challenges, and they are both so willing to learn. Ponies are just....special. Challenging, stubborn, quick, fun, talented. You just have to get over that hump of, "I am the leader here, stop being a pain in the butt!" and then you are good to go :p
 

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My daughter rides at a barn with an abundance of ponies, and we both pretty much love them all. They have very different personalities and different things that make them challenging, but all are fun and sweet and love kids. They're great teachers, which is so important for kids. That said, the trainers constantly work at making sure the ponies are good citizens and well-suited to their child riders. All (well, all except one or two who are truly saintly unicorns) are schooled regularly by one of the trainers or (more often) by advanced, smaller teenage riders. If they act up badly with a child on, someone larger and more skilled IMMEDIATELY gets on to correct the behavior. They're really a delight to be around and have made me a pony convert.
 

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I've always enjoyed ponies. "Little dunes buggies" like @Gemma_ponypilot said.

I learned to jump on ponies. Catch rode many ponies in hunter classes as a kid. Found some of them took to cow work when I moved west.

I've found most the be pretty bold, willing to cross water that a horse may initially hesitate at. There are limits to how much country they can cover, compared to our TBs and TB/QH crosses. But not every day has to be long.
 

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I have a huge soft spot for ponies. I still miss the last riding pony I had. She wasn't an attention seeker, while my horses are all up in my business, but she was very mannerly. Here she is with her filly.

020_05A.JPG
 

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They can be onerier than the dickens - or not.

My grandfather raised Welsh/Morgan’s. His Welsh stallion was the sweetest thing ever. I rode Pepper, bareback, everywhere. Sunday mornings my grandmother alleged to run out of milk:) I would ride Pepper a mile or so to the corner store for milk and two mini Tootsie Rolls — one for Pepper and one for me. Pepper was a little fella. When I was in my 13th year, I cried when I became too tall to ride him.

Years later, the same could not be said for a young unbroke pony I bought for my son. Some time spent talking with her owner revealed that snippy pony was a great granddaughter of my grandfather’s stallion. I was excited to get her home and start working with her.

She was a quick study and was gentle but contrary. She worked well for my then ten year old son as long as she could see me. Once I was out of sight, she wouldn’t listen to him for anything.

After 2/3 of a summer of that nonsense, and the neighbor teenagers backing up his tales of woe, I put him on my 15.1H Arab/Saddlebred (that was born on my parents farm when I was 13 and I raised/trained from his birth) and off they all went. When the kids got back, my son was all smiles and announced he was never riding the pony again — so I found her a new home because I was not in a position to keep her as a pasture pet back then.
 

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I wish I had more positive, firsthand experiences with ponies.

Any ponies that have been in any of the barns I've boarded at were horrendous little creatures (and yes, they were 100% products of their environment and handling). It was common to hear the excuse "well, they run on pony time, hahaha"... I never found it funny when a beginner lesson kid would get stuck on one side of the arena, and trying to get the pony move would result in the pony rearing.

However, I've watched many awesome ponies at horse shows, and I really wish I could be around those ponies more often.
 

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You know I'm a pony person, (even though some might say Coralie is more a very petite horse in looks.) But my favorite lease before her was a 13.2 chunky pony mare and she was SO FUN.

I actually only regularly rode 2 ponies before Cor, but also tried 8 others before buying her, and I ultimately think they are all individuals as much as horses, with certain breeds being prone to certain habits. I also completely agree that they tend to get away with more from trainers/riders and then develop bad habits, which is more on the owners than the ponies. But I just love that ponies often seem to have more personality. Maybe it's the same reason I prefer mares?

Back to Coralie, she has some stubborn moments where she really tests out of nowhere. My trainer will occasionally call it "ponytude", but is it? Or is it a number of other factors?

There are way more pros than cons if you ask me: take up less space, eat less, poop less, quicker to give a full groom, less distance to fall, less likely to hit your head on branches on the trail, blankets take up less storage space, oh and they're cute-as-a-button.

But I'm one of the most biased on here.
 

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I love them! In my experience, they have been smarter then larger horses. They are also easier to care for, they have better feet and eat a big less. They can be the devil, but they will teach you how to ride. They are usually less likely to explode over the smallest things. My first pony though he was funny, no one else did. They can be super talented, I have ridden a 14.1 hand gelding who did 1.5 meters no problem. My current welsh shows first level dressage with me, and we are working to get to second, my dressage trainer loves him. Oh, and they are super cute and will grab attention!
 

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I'm definitely a pony person.

I won't say that I haven't had dealings with some bad ones over the years but there are more ponies in my top twenty list of all time favourites than there are horses.

As a Brit who started riding at a young age and competed, I was on ponies until I was 18. As well as my own ponies, I used to spend most of my free time at a local riding school/ dealers/competition yard so got to ride a lot of them.

When I worked in Riding schools as an adult, my height and weight meant that I mostly took hacks out on a pony.

I adored the ponies that my children had, when one jumping pony was finally outgrown, he was reinvented as my hunting pony.

Two of my horses were pony crosses - a Welsh C and a TB and a Connemara and a TB.
 

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Other than being fat off air, thus being forced on a hay only diet, they're no different than bigger horses.

None of mine have been nasty, evil, marish or anything like that. Mares, red, cycling or not, just happy shorties.

🤷🏽‍♀️

The problem is training and/or diet. Rarely is it in the brain or possibly bred behavior.
 
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