A pony is a small-sized horse that has a certain temperament and conformation. Ponies have a stocky stature, a roundish shape, well-sprung ribs and a dense bone structure. They also have short heads with little ears and big eyes.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution (mainly in the United Kingdom) lots of ponies were used to carry large amounts of coal to the mines. Ponies stay small in stature even when they are fully grown, and sometimes people can get an adult pony and a young horse mixed up.
Specific ponies known as draft-type ponies are able to haul a greater amount of weight than their own body weight. Historically, they were used for freight transport and riding recreationally (especially children).
Lots of areas of the world have developed pony breeds, especially in cold climates where stocky, hardworking animals are required.
History Of Ponies
Ponies were originally a landrace which was developed to withstand harsh environments. These historical ponies belonged to Northern Europe and were members of the draft type. It was thought in the past that these ponies may have come from a wild draft species named Equus Ferus.
A large number of DNA studies showed that a huge amount of wild female ponies were behind the development of our modern pony breeds today. However, studies of male DNA found that there was one sole male pony that contributed to every modern pony breed.
The domestication of ponies is thought to have happened in the Eurasian steppes.
Once the domestication of these animals began to spread, male ponies were taken to be bred with wild females. Humans domesticated ponies because they needed a stocky, hardworking animal which could help them transport important supplies while withstanding harsh environments.
Farmers noticed how resilient ponies were and how they could do better in these environments than small-farm horses.
Current Uses Of Ponies
Ponies tend to be used as working animals in many different regions across the globe. They were used to pull vehicles, transport supplies and for riding. Lots of ponies are bred for shows and performances, and are seen a lot in the equestrian world.
Certain breeds are used for different functions – for example, the Australian pony is used just for riding whereas the Hackney pony are used for pulling vehicles. The Welsh pony, on the other hand, is an all-rounder used for both riding and pulling vehicles.
The Characteristics Of A Pony
Ponies have short legs and strong hooves. They have a heavy coat of hair (especially in the winter) and a thick mane, with a thick tail.
This physical features help them to withstand cold temperatures and harsh environments. Ponies are exceptionally strong and sturdy considering their size, with lots being able to carry adult riders, pull vehicles, and carry weight.
Ponies are so strong that they can carry a larger amount of weight pound for pound than a horse. They can carry a far larger weight than their own body weight, with some being able to pull up to 450% of their full body weight. Most pony breeds are very sturdy and hardy.
They can live on a lesser diet than that of a horse and need much less hay. Because of this, they can be more likely to get certain diseases, but farmers value their lower cost of living compared to horses.
Ponies are also very companionable and intelligent animals, but can also be seen as stubborn.
This tends to be a direct result of how well a pony has been trained – those who have been trained and ridden by experts properly will be less stubborn and more cooperative than those ponies that have been trained by beginners or trainers who lack proper experience.
Ponies are strong, sturdy, hardy, and dedicated animals. Despite their small stature, they are incredibly strong and can pull a huge amount of weight for their size. They can support full-grown adult riders, pull horse-drawn vehicles and carry an abundance of supplies.
They can survive well in harsh environments and don’t cost a lot to feed and house, meaning they are of great value to farmers.
They make excellent worker animals because when they are trained properly, they are very cooperative and work hard no matter what the weather. Work aside, ponies make great companions too because they are so friendly and clever.
They’re an excellent choice for children learning to ride because they make good-sized mounts. Ponies are an affectionate, even-tempered species and display impressive strength and a reliable surefootedness.