Top 11 Pony Breeds

Pony Breeds
Photo by Globe City Guide 🌎

Ponies are cute animals that are often seen as pets or riding horses. There are several pony breeds, with each having its unique characteristics. You can learn more about each breed type by reading this article.

There are many reasons why people choose to breed particular types of ponies. For example, some people prefer a specific color or type of coat.

Others want a pony that has a particular temperament or personality trait. Still, others look for a pony that is good at showing off its skills in dressage competitions.

1. Shetland Pony

A Shetland pony (or a Shetland mix) is strong enough for children to ride and gentle enough to keep as a pet. Despite their small stature, they are strong, intelligent, peaceful, and cunning.

Shetland ponies registered can grow up to 10.5 hands (42 inches) at the withers. Moreover, the American Shetland Pony Club in America allows ponies up to 11.5 hands (46 inches). A Shetland pony weighs between 400 and 450 pounds, depending on height.

Shetland ponies are very tough animals, thanks to their native land’s harsh climate. Their thick coats help them survive the harsh winters, and their broad bodies make them extremely strong.

There’sThere’s no denying the cuteness either but don’t let that deceive you. These are tough little horses that can outperform the largest draft horse.

2. Dartmoor Pony 

Among the different types of pony breeds are the Dartmoor. Dartmoor is the epitome of an English county show pony, but they also have a colorful history. 

Ponies of either gender can stand no taller than 12.2 hands in this breed. Weight is comparable to other light pony breeds, ranging from 400 to 700 pounds, but owners should keep an eye out for signs of obesity.

The breed’s temperament and hardiness make it suitable for all types of riding. Their conformation and “daisy cutter” movement make them highly competitive in the jumping and dressage rings, as well as carriage driving. 

Although the breed is small enough to be a children’s ride, its hardiness and good limb make it a willing and able mount for petite adults. Dartmoor is rare, but their sound mind and body make them an excellent companion if you’re lucky enough to find one.

3. Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor Pony is a rare small breed and what makes them unique is that some of them are still wild! Rather than being fully domesticated pony breeds, these little horses are still partially feral in some parts of southern England.

The Exmoor Pony is on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust list due to their small wild herd sizes. However, these wild herds are important because they aid in the management and preservation of natural moors and pastures.

Aside from the few wild herds, the Exmoor pony is also a domesticated breed. They are mostly dark, with lighter patches around their eyes, muzzle, belly, and flanks. Their backs are broad and powerful, and their legs are short but strong.

They have a large head compared to the rest of their body, with small ears and a fleshy eyelid known as a “toad eye.” Also, they are on the smaller side, even for a pony, standing between 11.1 and 12.2 hands tall.

Despite their recent success, they remain the English horse breed’s oldest and purest bloodline.

4. Connemara Pony 

Among the list of pony breeds are the Connemara. This pony comes in a wide range of coat colors, including cream coats and palominos. Pinto markings are the only coloring that is not allowed in the registry.

Their wide-set eyes and broad forehead are characteristics of their pony-like heads. The cheekbones and jawline are sharply defined, while the eyes are big and soulful.

In addition, the adorable, small ears of Connemara ponies are another physical trait that conforms to pony standards. The forearms and gaskins of these ponies are powerful and well-defined, and their legs are short and muscular.

They excel in various sports, including show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Also, they are top jumping prospects, competing against larger horses in show jumping and international events.

Generally speaking, Connemaras make great sports horses and are safe for adults and kids to ride.

5. Faroe Pony

The Faroe is considered a pony because of its short stature, but because of its strength, the Faroe Islanders refer to it as a horse. It is related to the Icelandic horse but is slightly smaller, standing between 11.1 and 12.1 hands tall.

The breed had to adapt to the harsh Faroese climate, becoming a hardy animal capable of surviving on meager rations. As a result, Faroe Ponies have a long lifespan. They have a patient and gentle temperament but can also be headstrong.

Large-scale exports caused their population to decline; by the 1960s, they were in danger of going extinct. However, due to dedicated breeding programs, there are now 70 purebred animals on the islands.

6. Welsh Pony

Welsh Pony is also among the types of pony breeds. They are a British export with a distinctively fast and free-moving gait. This, combined with their hardy nature and good temperament, makes them good candidates for pleasure riding.

Welsh ponies are classified into different types based on size and body type. The smallest Welsh ponies start at around 11 hands and cannot grow larger than 12.2 hands.

Welsh ponies have strong, muscular hindquarters, short backs, and sloped shoulders. Additionally, they have the typical big pony eyes, which greatly enhance their expressiveness.

Their coats are always one solid color. Although you can find duns and palominos, the most common colors are black, grey, chestnut, and bay. Welsh ponies are spirited but make up for it with soundness, intelligence, and good nature.

7. Fell Ponies

Before being used by British farms and liveries for farm work, Vikings were already using fell ponies as plow horses. They played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution as pack horses for transporting copper and iron ore.

As you can guess from their history, the Fell Pony is stocky and tough, and they have a hard-working and cooperative temperament.

They are easy to train, obedient, and valued for their sure-footed gait, even in rougher terrain. They’re also actual ponies, with a maximum height of 14.2 hands.

8. Hackney Pony

Among this list of pony breeds are the Hackney pony. The Hackney Pony, the offspring of a cross between a Hackney Stallion and a Fell Pony mare, was bred to be both elegant, tough, and sturdy.

In fact, Hackney ponies were initially kept outside all year in the English Fells to develop that toughness.

While their hardiness made them excellent war horses for hauling artillery in World War Two, their natural trotting ability makes them a famous show pony. Despite the Hackney influence, these are ponies and will never grow taller than 14.2 hands. 

Their temperament reflects their past, and they continue to be fearless, fiery, and sociable. They have active, alert minds, and their bodies are well-suited for endurance.

Above all, they make quite a statement in any show ring thanks to their famous trot, which is high-stepping and swift.

9. American Sportpony

American Sportpony is a horse and pony cross. This small animal has graceful proportions because of its multiple distinct bloodlines.

They are bred to look exactly like a smaller version of a horse and to have the physical attributes necessary to compete in a wide range of sports.

Also, they range in height from 13.2 to 14.2 hands. Their bloodlines include those of the Arabian, Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan, Connemara Pony, and Welsh Pony, ensuring a genetically diverse population.

An American Sportpony doesn’t appear stocky and sturdy like a pony but somewhat more streamlined and compact like a horse. They are designed for agility and speed!

10. American Quarter Pony

This list of pony breeds won’t be complete without mentioning the American Quarter Pony. It is a popular choice for young riders as they progress from a pony to their first miniature horse.

They can reach heights of up to 14 hands and resemble quarter horses in their bodies and builds. They are popular in Western shows because they are practically the American Quarter Horse in pony form.

In addition, they make good all-purpose ponies because they are quiet and small enough for novice riders and young children. They are also suitable for experienced riders because they are intelligent and versatile in training.

11. Welara Pony

The Welara, a hybrid of the Welsh pony and the Arabian horse, stands out despite being a less popular pony. Only the Welsh and Arabian bloodlines can be taken into consideration for pure breeds due to the strict breeding requirements. 

There are fewer restrictions on the permitted coat colors, and all markings, aside from Appaloosa, are accepted. Moreover, they are used as jumpers and eventers because they have the ideal combination of energy and trainability.

Conclusion

Pony breeds, from farm horses to therapeutic animals and pets, are famous worldwide. And, with programs working to ensure the survival of endangered breeds, we hope they’ll be around for a long time. Thanks for reading!

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