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What are the differences between a horse and a pony?

A horse is a horse, of course. Except when it isn't. Both horses and ponies are equines and come from the same species. These two mammals share many similarities. In general, you can ride them, drive them and, above all, pamper them like spoiled pets . Both horses and ponies have shaped human society, enabling people to make agricultural and industrial progress and helping civilizations fight wars and battles.


A horse and a pony are not quite the same thing. The main difference between a horse and a pony is height . This is not the only differentiating criterion, but it is the most decisive. A horse under 1.48m at the withers is considered a "Pony". This is a standard that was established by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). This rule was also intended to facilitate competitions and contests.


To differentiate these two equines , there is not only the size as criteria. They have very different characters . In general, the pony has a very docile and conciliatory character . It is for this reason that children are put on ponies to begin with. Some horses are therefore obviously conciliatory.


It is difficult to confuse ponies and horses . They are visually well recognizable. So what are the physical differences between these two animals? Of course, the horse is bigger than the pony. However, the pony is more robust and stronger in relation to its size. It can pull very heavy loads, which is why it has been used extensively for agricultural work and for pulling carts. It has a life expectancy of 30 years against 20 years for a horse and is more resistant to temperature changes . These characteristics come to him from his origins.

Who says stronger says less agile! It is the horse that is the more agile of the two. Ponies cannot perform high jumps as we can see with horses in show jumping riding competitions . Their legs are shorter compared to their body. Finally, their manes as well as their tail is generally bushier and thicker . Which gives them a cute side.


Sometimes the size of a horse is measured by hand. One hand = 10cm. Below 14 hands and 2 inches, it is no longer a horse but a pony. But despite the strict size distinction, some horses are exceptions . Take the Arabian horse, for example: According to the Arabian Horse Association, the standard height for this elegant breed ranges from 14.1 to 15.1 hands, with some individuals standing below or above average. This means that some Arabian horses are the size of a pony, although they are still often called horses. And then there is the Connemara Pony , which is still widely considered a pony even though its average height is between 13 and 15 hands. Theminiature horses are the most puzzling example. In the Americas, there are " mini horses " of about 86cm at the withers or less. Yet despite their small size, these tiny equines are still referred to as horses rather than ponies. Indeed, as the Horse Illustrated reports, a breed's conformation can also influence whether we consider something a horse or a pony . The Minis were basically designed to look like their much larger counterparts, but just considerably smaller , as if they had been shrunk in the evolutionary dryer.

Despite the size difference, the two equids in this image are commonly referred to as horses. Habits often cause them to be called that. The Icelandic horse has an average height of 13 to 14 hands and a more imposing build. But breeders and registries still refer to thick-maned Nordic horses as horses . It is said that it is not only because of the strength and carrying capacity of these animals, but also because the centuries-old Viking breed has always been called a horse.


As Élise Rousseau writes in "Horses of the World", the concept of a pony does not exist at all in regions where the breeds are shorter; in these regions, equids, no matter how small, are simply called horses.

In fact, it can be just as difficult to determine when to call a horse or a pony. A pony is not a baby horse, but a foal. A person may call their horse a pony the same way an adult dog owner may call their pooch a puppy, but this is a term of endearment rather than an acknowledgment of age.

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