At just a shave under 5’10", I long ago outgrew ponies, or so I thought. Many of us like the idea of riding ponies, but thought that it wasn’t something an adult would choose to do. As we get older, riding a pony might become more attractive. They’re closer to the ground, which means you won’t be falling as far if you do accidentally come off. They are smaller around too, which might be easier on arthritic hips and stiff muscles.
Those of you who are more petite will have no problem getting used to riding a pony. But, for some of us, it takes some adjustment to get used to feeling top-heavy on a smaller mount. And, you have to adjust your leg aids, as on some ponies, your leg doesn’t sit in the same place as on a larger horse. Their necks are shorter, so they are right there. And, they can move much quicker, which means you have to keep up or get left in the dirt. Anyone who has offered to tune up a child’s pony finds this out quickly.
Don’t count on them being easier to boss around, though. They are incredibly strong for their size. And, they can be wiley, although most breeds I’ve listed here claim they are quiet and easy to get along with. So if you’ve always wanted a pony, it turns out there’s probably one out there just right for you.
Although pony-sized, these horses are traditionally ridden by adults. And, they’re not just ridden quietly around the back lawn. The terrain of Iceland is rough. There are many active volcano's, and the ground is rocky. The climate is harsh as the island is just below the Arctic Circle. Despite the difficult conditions they live in, they are long lived, have few diseases and easily carry an adult over the country’s difficult footing. They walk, trot and canter like most horses, but can also tölt and pace. These qualities make them attractive to many people wanting a sturdy, dependable and comfortable ride.
Welsh Ponies and Cobs come in several different sizes. The larger sizes are often ridden by adults. Cobs or section D Welsh Ponies are over 13.2 hands. They are stocky but elegant.
Fell and Dales
At 91 years of age, the Queen of England still rides and a recent photo showed her astride a Fell pony. Like it’s close relative, the Dale pony, these ponies were used in farm work, and for riding. They are very sturdy and well able to carry a heavy load - including a full-grown adult.
The Haflinger is an Austrian breed. They are between 13.2 and 15 hands, and somewhat lighter boned than many draft type ponies. They were developed in a mountainous region and used as pack animals. Today they are used for both riding and driving.
Paso Finos and Peruvian Pasos
While these are distinct breeds they share some characteristics of size and gaits. Both are considered horse breeds, but many individuals are under 14.2 hands and can be considered ponies. They are gaited and their swift and smooth way of going is attractive to adults looking for a comfortable ride.
This is an Irish breed. The stand between 13 and 15 hands and larger individuals can easily carry an adult. Today they are popular as show ponies and are ridden and driven.
Like Icelandics, Fjords are called horses but come in pony sizes. They generally range from 13.2 to 14.2 hands but can weigh from 900 to 1200 lbs. They are considered a light draft horse and were originally used for farm work. Their dun coloring and stripped mane are very distinctive and there are no Fjord horses of any other color. Even white markings are frowned upon.
The Highland is a native Scotch breed and was developed as its name suggests in the rugged northern regions of Scotland. It is usually 13.2 to 14 hands high and in build looks very much like an enlarged Shetland Pony. They were used for farm work, logging and as pack animals. Today they are valued for their quiet temperament, and their ability to carry a grown adult with ease.
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