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I think when considering ponies, you first have to consider that there is a huge range of breeds and genetics, so those will weight heavily into the personality of the pony. If you have a 14 hand Arabian, that pony will have the temperament of an Arabian. If you have a 14 hand QH, that pony will have the temperament of a QH. So I think talking about pony temperament is not very accurate.

If someone has only been around Icelandics, they will have a different impression of pony sized horses than those who have only been around Hackney ponies. Icelandics are a very calm, stoic and trusting breed, and Hackney ponies tend to be hotter and more reactive, flashy harness ponies. Fjords are draft ponies, Connemaras are lighter jumping ponies. They can be very different.

Shetlands I knew as a kid were calm but very independent and self-protective. As kids we couldn't make the Shetlands do anything they didn't think was a good idea. Which really meant they were good for kids, since we sometimes had stupid ideas.

Every Icelandic I've been around has been sweet, willing and calm. Some owners I've known have thought their Fjords and Haflinger ponies were a bit stubborn, and I think their minds require just the right approach to get them working willingly. The Hackney pony I knew was a little bit hot, and not a good horse for a kid to work with. Stock horse ponies such as Quarter Ponies, POAs and Mustangs I've known were reliable, calm and trusting horses for anyone to work with.

If we're including Miniature horses, I've known a large number of those and in every case if the mini was not a perfect citizen it was only because they had been handled by people who didn't know how to work with horses. I have never known one yet that didn't have a wonderful temperament.

I have had my first pony for several months, and she is most likely a Welsh/Arab cross. I've heard that Welsh ponies have very nice temperaments. This combination with the Arab seems to give her a good mix of sensitivity and also she is pretty brave and calms down easily, and continues thinking when she is scared. She is extremely sweet and now that she's been around people, she is super friendly. She learns quickly and tries hard, and I don't think you could find a better temperament.
 

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People make generalisations & have superstitions - which, because you tend to get what you give, is often self-fullfilling prophesy with horses - about all breeds & types. I've even heard of 'colourist' - when he saw me cantering up with just a bit of baler's twine around my first horse's neck, a farrier said 'never seen anyone do that on a pally... never trust a pally or a buckskin!' On that note tho, I told a great horseperson I admire, who said 'I can actually see his point, because they're very often bought for their prettiness by clueless people who don't know about training or discipline.'

I think that comment above is what is behind people's 'general attitude' about ponies too - often bought for young kids, by parents who aren't horse people, too small to be ridden by adults, allowed to get away with stuff by kids...

Lost count of the amount of clients who told me after I got the job done, 'wow, he's never been good for farriers before'. Lost count of people who speak about their 'little(expletive) of a pony'... Really, when a big horse is given as many liberties, inconsistencies, too little discipline, boundaries, manners, they're just as much 'expletives', just BIG ones!

And personally, have had a few other ponies over the years, currently have 3 now and they are all great & well mannered!
 

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Not about ponies, but I recently heard Warwick Schiller talking to the owner of a red mare ask "Is she a chestnut mare?" I thought 'what am I missing, or is he really really stupid?' - I'd never heard anyone be colourist against chestnuts, but apparently that's a common thing too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I've definitely heard that: a chestnut mare. As if it's the worst possible thing you could get.
 

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I've definitely heard that: a chestnut mare. As if it's the worst possible thing you could get.
Same. Except I almost got a PONY chestnut mare (except she didn't end up doing so well on the PPE and the seller got cold feet). Now people were telling me there couldn't possibly be any worse combination.

I've also heard the "crazy redhead" theory applied to other animals, like dogs. I have two red Australian shepherds (red tri and red merle) and it may be true.
 

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Yes, my mom always insisted her hair wasn't red because she had such an awful temper.

The saying is "Beware the chestnut mare." I've got one and she fit the saying perfectly until I worked with her a long time. Now she's the BEST.
 

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I love ponies and have had only excellent experiences with them. They have so much personality. They live forever and a day. The are easy keepers. People of all ages will visit you just to see the pony, so if you do not like the company of friends, family, neighbors, and perfect strangers do not buy a pony. LOL The one I loved the best, I had for 38 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
The one I loved the best, I had for 38 years.
I hope I can keep mine that long, or nearly so. I got him when he was five and he's eight now. The idea of 30 more years with him is so heartwarming.
 

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Well, since I'm only 5' and am not going to be getting any taller (as @horselovinguy aptly pointed out in another thread), I like the little guys. I have had bad experiences with ponies, sure. My first pony reared and I slid off her back when I was 5. It clearly didn't deter me, or even scare me at the time, and I squarely blame it on the humans, as always. I think ponies are, more often than horses, treated badly because of sheer ignorance. It's like people think of them as slightly larger dogs and assume they don't deserve the same skills and respect as horses.

As you know, our little Bella is a gem, and we enjoy her very much. People are drawn to her - kids and adults. She loves everyone and takes it all in. Our goal is to make sure she never has negative experiences that might make her feel differently about humans than she does now.
 
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