Last Updated on January 9, 2022
We all know that ponies come in many different shapes and sizes. From tiny little Shetland ponies through to the strong, powerful Dales pony, they all have different weights. But what is the average weight of a pony?
Let’s find out all about ponies and discover what their average weights are!
What Is A Pony?
It would be easy to assume that a pony is just a smaller type of horse, and in some ways this is correct. Ponies are almost always smaller in height than horses. However, there are many other differences between horses and ponies.
The most significant difference between horses and ponies is their height. Generally speaking, an equine measuring over 14.2 hands high is a horse, and anything 14.2 hands high or under is a pony. This is a common benchmark, used to divide horses and ponies into different classes when competing.
However, some equine breeds can be classed as a horse when they are pony-sized, and vice-versa. For example, the Arabian is always called a horse, although it can be under 14.2 hands high. The Connemara is always called a pony, even when it is over 14.2 hands high.
Another strange anomaly is the naming of miniature horse breeds. These are certainly small enough to fit into the pony category but are very different in terms of appearance. Therefore they are always called horses, even when they are only 28 inches tall!
Ponies are also normally stockier and more thickset than horses, with muscular bodies and strong legs. They tend to have a wider chest and a shorter neck. Ponies normally have short heads with cute features, unlike the refined and elegant horse.
Horses normally have a finer, thin coat, whereas ponies are notorious for their thick hair and abundant manes and tails.
In terms of physical ability, ponies are very strong for their size and can be very agile with high levels of endurance. However, lighter horse breeds will come out on top when it comes to speed and jumping ability.
How Much Do Ponies Weigh?
The weight of a pony will vary according to the breed. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular pony breeds and find out what they weigh!
One of the most famous small pony breeds in the world, the Shetland pony stands at an average height of 9 to 9.3 hands high. However, these tiny equines are packed full of power, and are immensely strong for their size!
One of the reasons for their strength is their thickset and muscular body. The Shetland pony weighs an average of 220 kilograms and can use this body mass to help pull heavy loads across rough terrain. Traditionally, these tough ponies were used on the Shetland Isles to carry fuel and fertilizer up and down steep hills.
Welsh Mountain pony
The Welsh Mountain Pony is a small breed of pony originating from the United Kingdom. This pretty and elegant breed of pony is adapted to survive on difficult terrain.
Welsh Mountain Ponies are between 11 and 11.3 hands high and weigh an average of 220 kilograms.
The Exmoor pony is descended from wild ponies who roamed free on the English Exmoor hills. This beautiful breed of pony is very sturdy and has distinctive lighter patches around its eyes and mouth.
Exmoor ponies are between 12 and 12.3 hands high and weigh an average of 340 kilograms.
The Dales pony is one of the tallest pony breeds, at an average of 14 to 14.3 hands high. This ancient breed from northern England was used in the past as a pit pony, pulling heavy wagons of coal from deep underground mines.
The average weight of a Dales pony is 510 kilograms, over twice that of the tiny Shetland!
How Much Does The Smallest Pony Weigh?
The record for the smallest equine ever was held by a mare called Thumbelina. This tiny equine, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 17, weighed just 26 kilograms. She was only 17 inches tall – absolutely tiny!
Records do not show what type of horse Thumbelina was, so we cannot be sure if she would have been classed as a pony or a miniature horse. It is thought that she was born with a condition called dwarfism, which is the reason for her tiny size.
Read more about How Much Do Miniature Horses Weigh?
How Is Pony Weight Calculated?
It is essential your pony maintains a healthy body weight. If a pony is underweight or obese, it is at risk of many permanent or life-threatening health conditions.
When it comes to the smaller breeds of pony, a small change of just a few kilograms can mean the difference between being too thin or becoming overweight. This means that it is vital that you monitor the bodyweight of your pony carefully.
One of the easiest ways to monitor the weight of a horse is by using a weighbridge. You may be lucky enough to have one in your barn, or you could use the one at your local veterinary clinic. There are also public weighbridges in most regions of the country.
You can also check the weight of your pony using a device called a weigh tape. This measures around the girth of the pony, and tells you their estimated body weight. This is not the most accurate method for weighing a pony but can be useful to see if they are gaining or losing weight.
As with humans, it is not only the overall weight that matters. We need to look at the overall condition of our ponies, to check they are not carrying too much excess fat. The method used to do this is called body condition scoring.
This is a simple system where parts of the pony’s body are compared to a chart of pictures. Each part is given a score, and these are added up. The final figure tells you whether your pony is too thin, too fat, or absolutely perfect!
So, as we have learned, the smallest pony breed is the Shetland, with an average weight of 220 kilograms. At the other end of the scale is the Dales pony, with an average weight of 510 kilograms.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about the average weight of different pony breeds. Have you ever met one of these tiny miracles of the equine world? Or maybe you want to learn more about different pony breeds? Please add a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE