Last Updated on January 25, 2022
It doesn’t take long to notice how many drastically different-sized horses are referred to as ponies. Exactly how tall is a pony, and how much does a pony weigh? For most organizations, this is a clear-cut answer of 147 cm or smaller (under 14.2 hands) with no indication of weight standards. But contrary to popular belief, the term “pony” doesn’t always refer to size! In fact, certain breeds are specified as “pony breeds”, while other full-size horse breeds can be considered a pony based on height.
What is a Pony?
A pony can also be called a small horse because both are the species Equus ferus. Although ponies primarily differ from horses based on wither height, ponies and pony breeds frequently carry some stereotypes. Many differences are subjective, or a matter of confirmation preference. And owners agree, ponies tend to have “big” attitudes! They are known for their slightly heftier frames versus finer-boned full-size horses and have a reputation as easy-keepers. Despite the smaller height, ponies do tend to carry slightly more weight.
However, some ponies look identical to their full-size counterparts. Hackney Ponies, for example, are almost indistinguishable unless there is something to capture size reference.
How Much Does A Pony Weigh? Standard Weights
The weight of a standard horse varies between 840 and 2,200 pounds! Most Quarter Horses, for example, are between 950 and 1,200 lbs. However, this does not include the Quarter Pony. Because of the diverse height profile for ponies (and no minimum), weight greatly varies. Pony weights are typically somewhere in the range of 200 pounds, upwards of 1,400 pounds for heftier pony breeds like a Haflinger. Some ponies have thicker bone structures and carry more weight in their crests. Ponies are typically at a higher risk for founders.
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Many breed organizations have a breed standard of 14 hands+ for their horses, and these technical “ponies” are registered as and compete as horses in their breed. The weight differences will be minimal and likely directly linked to size in horse breeds. However, some breeds are considered “pony breeds”, and individual height can even be 15 hands! Common pony breeds around the world include the American Shetland, Connemara, Dales, and Pony of the Americas. However, less common ponies low in numbers or even critically endangered include the Karakachan, Garrano, and the Eriskay breeds. You can find a great index of pony breeds on this artist’s site.
So how is a pony-size determined for competition? Although it varies between organizations, we will use FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) as an example since it oversees the majority of groups. Measuring for a competition is serious. Some ponies will apply for their “Pony Card”, much like a height card for human athletes. Temporary cards are issued annually until a pony is eligible for a lifetime card at 8 years or older.
Two veterinarians use a calibrated FEI measuring stick or a HeightLight laser device. FEI changed its 150-centimeter height regulation in late 2019. For 2020, the maximum reduced competition height is 148 centimeters unshod (without shoes). There are no weight requirements for the pony carding process.
While competing may complicate height disputes and “ideal” weights, ponies are simply small horses! Great things come in small packages. What size are your horses?
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Read more about What Is The Average Weight Of A Pony?
How much does a baby pony weigh?
A baby pony weighs about 30 to 40 pounds. The exact weight depends on the age of the foal. For example, a foal born in spring will be smaller than one born in fall.
What is the weight of a newborn pony? The average weight of a foal is about 10 to 15 percent of its mother’s weight. Therefore, if a mare weighs 200 pounds, her foal will weigh around 20 pounds when born.
How much does a miniature pony weigh?
Miniature horses are the smallest breeds of horse, usually smaller than 15 hands in height. They weigh between 150 and 350 pounds and they are most often used for show jumping or as pets.
Miniature horses come in a wide variety of colors including pinto, black, bay, brown, chestnut, roan and white. Miniature horses have a lot of character and are fun to ride and handle. You will find them to be very intelligent and responsive to training.
How much weight can a 300 pound pony carry?
It is believed that a horse or pony can safely carry up to 20% of his body weight. However, you should never load your horse or pony beyond what he can reasonably carry. If the horse is carrying more than 20% of his body weight, it could cause problems like back injuries and joint pain.
How much should a Shetland pony weigh?
The weight of a Shetland pony depends on its height but generally is around 400 to 450 pounds. The Shetland pony was developed from the Scottish pony and is named after Shetland Islands, located in the northern part of Scotland.
A Shetland pony can be considered a working horse, a pleasure horse or a sport horse. Shetland ponies are often used in agriculture and forestry. They are also used for riding, jumping, polo, dressage and racing. They have a calm, gentle disposition and are often used as a companion animal. They are easy to handle, very responsive and well mannered. The Shetland pony is also known for its intelligence, its courage, its stamina and its endurance. It is a versatile breed and adapts well to different kinds of work and different conditions. It has been noted that the Shetland pony is a good and strong worker.
Can adults ride a Shetland pony?
Yes, adults can ride ponies, even Shetlands. However, no horses under 3 years old should be ridden as they are not yet completely physically developed by that age and ridding them may result in back injuries and deformations. It is recommended that you wait until your horse has reached its full physical development before riding.
The Shetland pony is not as “small” as most people think and they can be pretty strong too. In fact, the Shetland pony is a fairly large breed compared to some of the other breeds in this group.
Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.