As we said very briefly in a previous article, ponies or ponies are a kind of small horse, and this size is not due to any deformity or genetic abnormality, they represent a true breed. As a general rule, the size of a pony should not exceed 1.50 cm high, and its approximate weight can be around 100 kg.
Likewise within this breed we have ponies of different races that may have variations in their size, shapes and fur, changes very closely related to their place of origin. But Despite these distinct characteristics among its variations, The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) only considers size as the sole criterion for classifying a horse as a pony or not.
According to its rules, any horse with a height less than 1.47 cm, (1.48 if considering the horseshoe) corresponds to this classification. This is a parameter that is also taken into account in official competitions.
Current studies show us that the current horse has its origin in ancestors with sizes very similar to those of the current pony, which may lead us to think that our steeds as we know them today have been evolved ponies that were acquiring greater height to adapt. to man-made domestication processes.
The scientific name of this animal is eqqus caballus, belonging to:
- FILO: Chordata.
- CLASS: Mammalia.
- ORDER: Perissodactyla.
- FAMILY: Equidae.
- GENDER: Equus.
The life expectancy of this rocking horse is around 25 years approximately, but this can vary from one breed to another and of course to the animal’s living conditions. The pony’s gestation time is 320 days.
They have been classified into the four main types of Eurasian primitive horses, and currently we can distinguish up to 55 breeds of ponies. Many of these are native to Western Europe, and the smallest of them is the Shetland, with sizes ranging from 70 cm to 110 cm.
Other breeds from this region are found: the Asturcones, the Mochinos, the Galician Ponies, and the Forest. But the ones we know best are the Exmoor from Great Britain.
Next, we will make a brief description of some of the best known breeds:
It is one of the most popular breeds, being the smallest pony in the world. Originally from the Shetland Islands, in Scotland, it is very small and its size at the withers is between 87 and 110 centimeters. There are two varieties, on the one hand the standard Shetland, which is slightly over a meter tall, and the mini Shetland, which does not exceed 87 centimeters in height. Likewise, there is also the American Shetland pony, which measures about 103 centimeters. It is a very strong and rustic breed, being a pony that presents a diverse coloration (brown, light brown, white and black, …), being the exemplary par excellence for children. It is a breed with a kind and generous character but somewhat stubborn. They have great vitality and endurance.
This pony is a breed raised in the Basque Country that could already be found in cave paintings thousands of years old, a breed whose size is between 112 and 132 centimeters in height, its layers being mainly black and chestnut color and without any white stain. It is a breed whose popularity has been increasing thanks to its ability to be used in dressage, show jumping, hunting and walks, being animals that are fast, strong and docile.
Pony Fallabela: The Falabella is a horse that is often mistaken for a pony although it really isn’t. It is a horse of small stature that has a maximum height of 80 centimeters, being the smallest of the horses, a mini horse that has been bred and selected to achieve the smallest possible size, although it cannot be considered a pony since it does not it has its usual characteristics.Its name is due to the family that was most involved in the selection of specimens and care of the miniature horse, which has resulted in this specimen, which is characterized by being calm, affectionate, docile and intelligent.
Although it is a weak animal, it can have considerable strength for its small size. It was originally developed in Argentina during the 19th century, being a breed that inherited some characteristics similar to the lineage of ponies, such as their robust bones and abundant fur on the tail and mane.
Its coat is silky and fine and it can be presented in different colors, although the most common ones are pinto, zaino, sorrel and bay. Its weight is usually around 70-80 Kg and its life expectancy is approximately 45 years.
Pony of the americas
This pony was born from a crossing carried out by a selection of different breeds of horses and ponies, among which are the Appaloosa horse and the Shetland pony, which makes it common to have the First layer of skin, with mottling and spots all over the body.
The Caspiano pony breed is a very small breed, reaching some specimens with a height up to the withers of just 102 centimeters, although specimens reaching 122 centimeters can be found. At the layer level, the most common are sorrel, black, chestnut and thrush, being a breed native to Iran, where they continue to be very popular. They are refined and slim body, with great intelligence and capacity to be trained, which makes them stand out in different athletic activities such as show jumping or pony racing. They are easy to handle by children.
This breed of pony, which enjoys great popularity throughout the world, was born in the Landes region of France, from where it receives the name by which it is known, a breed whose height at the cross is situated between 118 and 140 centimeters. It is a very old breed that descended from the Tarpán, its origins being common to those of the rest of the horses, which was recognized in 1971. For its origin it is claimed that there were crosses of horses of Arab blood, beard and Spanish, although it is not of the all clear how all these crosses affected the evolution of the breed.
Pony from the mountains of Wales
Welsh pony, is a breed with excellent sports qualities that have led it to become a regular competitor, a pony that has a height that is below 120 centimeters. Its most common layer is the thrush, although all except the pint and pía are allowed. It has a concave profile head, with small ears and a bulging forehead, with sloping backs, a medium-length neck and a muscular back, with thin and resistant limbs. Their behavior is intelligent and spirited, being suitable for riding, as well as being generally active and cheerful
The Dartmoor Pony is a breed less than 124cm in size that is perfect as a riding pony. Of English origin, it has a rough and wild habitat, being able to withstand poor vegetation and scrub, a resistant and strong specimen, an animal of safe passage that is used to coping through difficult terrain. It is a robust, calm, docile and sensitive breed, being perfect for both children and competition, being easy to train and used to transport heavy loads. In competition they have reaped great achievements in show jumping, as well as dressage and cross country. In addition, it also stands out as a pony, being able to compete against larger equines.
In addition to those mentioned above we can name Forest, Connemara Dales and Highland. Did you see how much variety? And there are still many more races to describe. And what is the race that you liked the most?