Horse VS Pony: Differences & Similarities

We have owned numerous horses and ponies over the years along with miniature horses and donkeys. I love doing research and taking a look deeper into the anatomy of horses and ponies.

The horse and pony are two of the most popular animals in the equestrian world. Horse lovers will tell you that there is no comparison between these two, while those who prefer ponies may argue otherwise.

The truth of the matter is that horses and ponies share many similarities, but they also have some major differences.

In this article, we will explore what makes each animal unique and how to care for them properly!

What Is The Difference Between A Horse And A Pony?

The primary difference between the two is size. Horses can grow to be quite large, while ponies are much smaller and more compact in stature. There are exceptions, of course – miniature horses such as Shetland Ponies and Falabella Miniature Horse that look like small versions of their larger counterparts.

But on average, a pony will stand at around 13 hands tall or less, where a horse usually stands at 14-16 hands high!

Pony breeds also tend to have thicker manes than horses because they need it for warmth throughout the winter months (since they don’t have thick coats).

And finally, you’ll notice an overall rounder face shape with slightly shorter ears on your average pony compared to how these features would appear on a horse.

The way horses and ponies have bred these differences: while many breeds of pony exist, the three main types for show purposes on a smaller scale are Welsh Ponies, Shetland Ponies, and Icelandic Horses (which tend to be more expensive). Horse breeds include Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Arabians – just about any breed you can think of.

This is because most horse-centric breeds were developed as war or work animals where size was an asset to carry heavy loads over long distances at breakneck speeds.

But don’t worry if you’re looking for something simpler; there’s plenty of other ways to enjoy your favorite equine without investing the time or money that could go into owning a horse.

Pony breeds may be smaller, but they make up for it in their versatility and are easier to maintain than horses while still providing hours of fun.


Horses are often seen as the more calm and willing animal, whereas ponies tend to be stubborn. Some people would argue that this is because of their noticeably higher intelligence levels, but I’m not sure about it myself.


Horses are the best kind of animal for kids because they take longer to grow up. For example, a horse will not reach full maturity until seven years old, while a pony can mature in only six!


Ponies are known to be surprisingly strong for their size. They can carry heavy loads and maintain balance while trotting over rough terrain that would leave larger horses in a heap of trouble.

Pony breeds vary greatly, but as far back as the 1800s, it was noted by farmers all across Europe how much more useful they were than draft horse breeds because no matter what type you had, there seemed always to be something around your ranch or farm that needed carrying: hay bales, grain bags, barrels of water–whatever!


With its mane and tail, a horse is a majestic creature that can be found in wide-open spaces. The distinctive look of their hair makes them recognizable to the untrained eye.

The beautiful features that make up the anatomy of a horseshoe are all apparent when you observe it head-on: from an impressive set of eyes down to its incredibly strong legs; however, one feature stands out more than others – so much so that if I were asked what made this animal unique, my answer would be “the mane.”


When they are given too much, it can make some ponies overweight. This means that when a pony is an easy keeper and not getting enough food to support their body weight, the risk of laminitis increases because there’s no other way for them to lose weight (unless you buy expensive supplements).

How long do they live

Many will live into their thirties and still do well in the twenties when it comes to horses. The lifespan of a pony is similar – 25 to 30 years.

Popular Horse breeds

Quarter Horse

The American Quarter horse is the most popular breed of horse in America and around the world. Originating from English thoroughbreds, Native Indian Chickasaw horses are also famous for their agility, obedience, and athleticism. These beautiful animals can be found both on trails and show rings shining as stars!


Thoroughbreds are the most popular horse breed in North America. This hot-blooded animal is known for its speed and spirit, and versatility to compete in multiple equestrian competitions such as dressage and jumping. The Thoroughbred can also make a great companion pet or pleasure riding mount!


The Arabian horse is the oldest and most versatile breed in history. It also has been a symbol of power, wealth, and status for over three millennia, with its lineage going back to 3000 BC! This powerful yet loving creature can be difficult to handle sometimes due to it often being spirited before an inexperienced rider or master takes control- but once they’re tamed by their owner’s love as well as patience, there will be nothing that stands in this gracious animal’s way.


The Appaloosa is a Native American bred horse used for everything from hunting and battle to herding, pleasure riding, long-distance trail riding. Sometimes called “the great all-arounder,” the spirited animal can conquer any terrain with ease while still being gentle enough around animals it would encounter in its work as an equine herder or hunter of the game such as deer and coyotes.

Popular Pony breeds

Welsh Pony & Cob

Welsh ponies have existed since before the 16th century BC, and a Welsh-type cob was known as early as the Middle Ages. They were influenced by Arabian horses, Thoroughbreds, and Hackneys.

In 1901 the first studbook for these breeds was established in the UK; in 1907, another registry was set up on US soil to keep records of where they are located all over North America.

After the Great Depression, there’s declining interest, but things start to get better after 1950 when demand picks back up again. Thanks to even more improved road conditions that made it easier for well-bred animals.

Like this one from Wales can be transported faster than ever across long distances with less risk of injury or death due to exhaustion or accidents which ruined entire shipments previously because people relied too much upon.

Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor pony is a rare breed of horse that originates from the British Isles, where some are semi-feral livestock in an area known as “Exmoor.” It has been given endangered status by The Rare Breeds Survival Trust and threatened status by The Livestock Conservancy.

Its free-roaming state can be seen performing equestrian activities such as trekking and riding along with other breeds like Welsh ponies with similar cold-weather adaptations to perform these tasks.

Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic horse is a breed of animal from the cold, icy country in northern Europe. It stands out for its small stature and two gaits that are unique to this breed.

Despite being pony-sized at times, an Icelandic is always referred to as a “horse.” Icelanders have spent centuries developing their animals to be long-lived and hardy creatures.

They’ve perfected them by only importing horses when needed but never exporting them back again once outside the borders, so there’s no contamination with other breeds or diseases like rabies being reintroduced into the gene pool.

Shetland Ponies

Shetland ponies are small horses that were originally from the Shetlands, an archipelago northeast of mainland Scotland. In ancient times, people living on the islands probably crossed their native stock with smaller ponies imported by Norse settlers.

Celtic people also introduced a pony to these Isles during this period as well which may have influenced how shelties became so resilient and strong over time due to harsh climates and scarce food availability in typical environments they would encounter there.

Can A Horse And A Pony Breed?

Male horses and female ponies can mate, but they need to be in good condition because of the size difference. If a mare is larger than a stallion, she may not have enough room for mating or even being mounted by him. Stallions are often castrated if this becomes an issue with their behavior.

Horses and ponies also differ in other ways: hoof-shape, hair length, coloration, and mane thicknesses which makes it easy to differentiate between them when out on pasture grazing side by side as well.

Ponies tend to live longer than horse breeds, too, due to their smaller frame that doesn’t carry the same health risks typically associated with bigger equine species like arthritis or breathing problems related to long distances traveled.

Ponies are often trained for horseback riding early on in their lives to make them comfortable with heavier weights and the different balance that comes along when people mount them.

A pony can also be crossbred with a larger breed of equine, like a quarter horse, which still makes it smaller than its parent but gives the offspring some additional characteristics from both parents, such as strength or intelligence.

The size difference between horses and ponies is only noticeable during the mating season because they need room for movement; however, this doesn’t mean that one animal is better suited for breeding than another due to size alone.

Generally speaking, there’s little care needed other than providing adequate shelter to keep these small animals warm during cold weather months, so they’re sure to live a happy, healthy life.

You should always consult the local vet for their opinion on whether it’s possible to crossbreed two horses or ponies. The reason is that they can help you decide if this is a bad idea and what potential ramifications might happen based on your decision.

In addition, this step could save you from making some big mistakes down the line in terms of horse breeding as well as getting into unknown territories with animals who may have genetic issues which are not visible at first glance but present themselves over time because of things like lineage separation between them and other breeds.

Differences Between Pony & Horse Riding

Ponies are easier to do in almost every way. You have more choice when it comes to the size of your stable and transport with them as well; ponies tend to be cheaper overall because they’re much smaller, so you can bring a pony anywhere without too much hassle or cost.

They also require less practice than riding horses which may help those who don’t want their time practicing taken away from actually competing at events like mine!. Finally, I find that jumping on a horse is always scarier for some reason- even though jumps seem small from behind one!

Should children learn to ride on horses or ponies?

Riding is not only a fun activity for kids, but it also offers them safety and empowerment. Riding horses develop their balance skills as well as boosting self-confidence, and developing social interactions with others.

For example, when you put your child on the back of an animal that can’t talk or laugh at mistakes made while learning to ride, they’re more likely to maintain confidence in themselves even when faced with challenges such as riding a different horse than what’s typically ridden by children their age.

Riding teaches physical discipline (balance) and interpersonal communication skills, which are valuable life lessons applicable outside of this world!

Ponies used for young children to learn on can easily become numb and develop many bad habits. For this reason having ponies that are large enough to get a ‘tune-up’ from an adult rider who fully understands their issues is beneficial in saving time, money, and heartbreak.

To this end, the pony doesn’t have to be full-sized; something in the middle would probably work well too! Spending time with horses as kids can be rewarding, so why not get your child off on the right foot? When it comes to horse breeds, there’s no one-size-fits-all.

So if you’re worried about making mistakes when selecting which animal is best for them, don’t fall into that trap and look at what might make sense instead of doing something just because everyone else does!

When choosing between different types or sizes of animals like ponies vs. regular-sized horses, parents seem to think they need to choose an in-between option, but this isn’t necessarily true if we take their age range into account – most kids will only grow up around 5 ft tall anyways so getting a pony shouldn’t mean they have less opportunity.

Differences Between Pony And Miniature Horse

Ponies are usually around 12 hands tall. On the other hand, Miniature horses range from 14 to 18 hands depending on their breeding and can even be taller than a regular horse.

These animals might share some similarities, but they’re not the same, meaning owning both is more common than people think.

Miniatures have different gaits as well – while ponies will trot or jog instead of galloping, a miniature’s gait ranges between an amble and a full-speed gallop, with what is called the pacing gait being said to look like bouncing off each step.

Another difference you’ll find out about if you ask them, for example, breeds here is there’s no such thing as a pony breed with breeds like the American Miniature Horse Association and the Canadian Pony Club.

One of the most popular miniature horse breeds is called an Appaloosa, which has spots on its body that are usually in different shapes, sizes, and colors!

Did you know that there is such a thing as a mini horse?

These animals can be any height depending on their breeding, but they’re still unable to compete at events or do some jobs because they’re just too small for them, so make sure to check if your requirements allow for miniatures before buying one.

Miniatures, ponies, horses – what’s the difference?

The size mainly along with gait and niche type from horseback riding to being a showjumper.

It’s important to note that not all breeds of the miniature horse will be able to do what you want them to do because they can’t grow up as big due to their size, but it still might be worth asking questions about before you buy one so make sure you know your requirements for owning a pet first.

If the height isn’t an issue, many other features could play like gait (how well does it walk?) or niche type (what events would work best?).

How to care for your horse or pony

You should do the first thing if you have just purchased a new horse to get them dewormed and vaccinated.

It’s also worth mentioning that horses need regular hoof trims, farrier visits, and teeth care for their feet to grow properly.

Horses are often fed hay rich in nutrients, but they will still require oats or corn as well throughout the day. They can’t be given too many carbs, though, so make sure it isn’t more than one cup at a time per day.

The main staple of every horse diet needs to be about three pounds of high-quality grass hay each day and two cups of oats or five ounces of complete feed (with vitamin E), depending on the age and condition of the horse.

It’s recommended to give your horse an apple or carrot every day, especially during winter months where it isn’t getting any fresh produce from outside sources.

Horses need a lot of water and should be given at least three gallons per day (more if they are working hard). It can be tempting for them to drink dirty water, leading to harmful bacteria build up in their stomachs, so try to keep their food and pasture clean! Horses also require salt blocks rather than regular hay as this provides electrolytes needed for muscle function.

A quarter horse is simply one that falls into the Quarter Horse breed groupings. A pony breed is usually small with very short legs but sometimes a hybrid like an American Horse.

Ponies are usually smaller with shorter legs. Their height ranges from 13 to 14 hands high, about four feet tall at the shoulder when fully grown (or slightly taller than three feet).

A horse’s size can vary depending on breed, but most of them range in height between 14 and 16, hands high or roughly five to six feet tall at the shoulders when mature. They typically weigh 900 pounds or more as adults! Horses have thicker coats, whereas ponies manage to be shaggier due to their furry body parts called “hair.”

Horses also come in different colors such as white, black, brown, etc.

Ponies are typically less expensive than horses.

You can find out the horse breed by checking their pedigree papers or looking at their markings, whereas ponies tend to be mixed breeds, and it’s hard to tell what they are bred from.

Horses need more space as they grow up since most eat a lot (due to being large) and take up more room in general. They also require a larger living area because they usually live outside unless you have access to an indoor arena or barn for your horse.

And if you do not have enough land, then ask yourself whether buying a pony would make sense instead! Ponies produce smaller waist, so there’s no worry about the ground being too polluted from their droppings.

Ponies are more of a companion animal and easier to handle than horses, which can be good and bad depending on the situation! Ponies usually don’t like strangers much unless you have taken time to tame him or them, but they also make great pets because they’re not as wild.

In Conclusion

As you have learned in this blog, there are some major differences between horses and ponies. So when deciding which type of animal to purchase for your child’s first riding experience, consider the size of horse or pony that will be best suited for them.

If they want a large animal with more power and stamina, it would probably be better to go with a horse instead of a pony. But if they want something small enough so that their feet don’t touch the ground when they’re sitting on top at all times – then definitely get yourself a miniature horse!

Learning how to ride either one will take time, though; make sure not to rush into anything before giving your little guy or gal some ample practice sessions with their pet horse or pony.



Hello and welcome to our horse news site. Hope you find any information helpful. We are a fun loving family that has always loved our horses we have now welcomed a new mini horse to your family for our daughter he has become quite the character.

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