View Full Version : too tall to work at pony barn?

Beau Cheval
Oct. 12, 2009, 12:18 PM
I'm sending out my second round of working student letters, this time for a weekend position with local barns. I saw the website for a local pony breeding barn, and I thought I would send them a letter. However, I am 5'9 and 155 lbs. I am a two or three season varsity athlete and I am in very good shape, so I don't think I'm too hard to carry. Should I send them a letter, or should I focus on barns with horses?

Oct. 12, 2009, 12:38 PM
You will be just fine on med and lg...Even jumping on a top of the line small to get a point across...When I ride the smalls ( 5'6" and to old to put my weight down:) I keep a very light seat....

Oct. 12, 2009, 12:41 PM
I would not put you on a small at that weight. Mediums would be ok, but definitely borderline. Some trainers would probably have you flat mediums but not jump them. Larges you would be fine. It can't hurt to apply- you never know what it is that they have. Just be upfront about your height and weight and see if they have a use for you!

Oct. 12, 2009, 01:26 PM
Pony club has weight limits for ponies in Mounted Games competitions, I realize it's a little different from jumping them around but I generally think of this as a good guideline for all types of riding:

Article 4 – Weight Limitations: The following weight limita-
tions apply to riders dressed and ready to ride:
• Any rider over 117 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
12.2 hands or under.
• Any rider over 150 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
13.2 hands or under.
• Any rider over 190 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
14.2 hands or under.

Personally I would put you on a medium only if it's a bigger med. and pretty sturdy. You'd be great on large's. I wouldn't put you on a small though I have seem MUCH heavier trainers get on smalls to school them.

Oct. 12, 2009, 01:29 PM
No. I know plenty of places that actually have rules for weight limits of riders on ponies. Commonly i've heard 130 is maximum for pony riders. Not that I'm saying this is necessarily *right* but I surely would NOT put you on a small pony unless it was just to jump it around the ring once if it was misbehaving with a kid. That's a lot of weight for a small to carry ON A NORMAL BASIS--which is why it's okay to hop on for a few mins and school once in a while, but if I was breeding top notch ponies, I would want the lightest kid i could possibly find to ride as long as they are capable.

Ponies don't care what you look like. A "fat" 150 kid is the same as an athletic 150 kid as far as the pony is concerned. It's still 150 lbs on its back, regardless of shape.

Oct. 12, 2009, 02:11 PM
We have smalls, mediums and larges. My regular rider is 120 lbs and 5'4" and she is even a bit big on the smalls. It is not that they can't carry you, but any small shift of weight greatly affects the ride and especially the jump. I would not have a 150lb rider even on my mediums except maybe to flat a really big bodied one. I know there are plenty of people that do it, but it is not the best thing for the pony in the long run.

Oct. 12, 2009, 05:02 PM
Ponies don't care what you look like. A "fat" 150 kid is the same as an athletic 150 kid as far as the pony is concerned. It's still 150 lbs on its back, regardless of shape.

I don't know if I necessarily agree with this. Although you are of course correct that 150 pounds is 150 pounds whether it is a good rider, a bad rider, or a sack of marbles, skill has a lot to do with the comfort of the pony.

I've seen 120 pound riders that I wouldn't want on my horse, and 200 pound riders that wouldn't bother me at all. I'd rather have 20 extra pounds on a well balanced and fit rider than a 20 pound lighter poor rider. And pony jocks are often a little bit too big for their mounts -- but that's what makes them good for their little owners.

To the OP, I agree with most of the other posters -- it can certainly not hurt to apply and be upfront and honest. If they want someone who can ride the smalls you won't get hired, but if they need someone on the larges and the bigger mediums you'd probably be hired in a heartbeat. It all depends on what the rest of their staff is made up of.

Oct. 12, 2009, 07:15 PM
Ponies don't care what you look like. A "fat" 150 kid is the same as an athletic 150 kid as far as the pony is concerned. It's still 150 lbs on its back, regardless of shape.

I'm really going to have to disagree with that. I'm 200 pounds give or take a few. But I'm also 6'2". I can't think of a horse that would rather carry someone at 5'1" who was 200 pounds rather than me.

Beau, personally I think you'll be fine. I know many girls who are at least your height and weight who play pony jock for the big mediums and larges when they get too out of hand for the little kiddies.

Oct. 12, 2009, 09:28 PM
It doesn't hurt to apply. But personally I think you're a bit tall, and will feel awkward jumping them. I am 5'2", and 120 and feel huge on a small, and off balance over fences.

Oct. 13, 2009, 12:21 AM
The last time i had a large pony to train and sell, my best junior rider was 5'9 and (well, she says so anyway) about 140. I have often called her a liar ( ;) ) because she is very thin and athletic looking. She was certainly too tall for the pony, but he carried her absolutely fine. She only showed that one once and then one other one for me once (both top of the line larges, one much more fine bodied than the other) but she could have done more. She rode them great, so unfortunately for her they were sold quickly. She's off at college now, but I would probably even put her on a medium if I really needed to have someone ride it. (I am not a candidate, as I am also 5'9, but unfortunately not 140lbs.. lol)

Oct. 13, 2009, 12:40 AM
If you are open to positions that aren't exclusively riding, there might be a lot to do and learn at a breeding barn, from the ground. In turn, I'm sure some of the ponies would be fine for you to ride. But, I would think it would be unrealistic for you to be the go-to rider for all ponies. It's still very worth sending a letter though, as you never know what kind of opportunity it might be.....and you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Sunset Ponies
Oct. 13, 2009, 08:51 AM
Have you spent a lot of time on ponies before? I have had several pony jocks work for me who were too big for the ponies, but were really effective riders. It is really important to get a good foundation on the ponies before they take on the young kids. I got laughed at one year at Upperville because the rider for my small in the VPBA Young Ponies Under Saddle class was obviously too tall for her. We ended up winning the class because so many of the other ponies misbehaved with their tiny riders. Having said that, the pony jocks I use have a ton of time in the saddle on ponies and were used to the coordination and balance it took to be too big, yet still effective on a pony. I agree that how you can carry yourself on a pony is as important as your actually size.

Oct. 13, 2009, 11:44 AM
Honestly, that's a little tall for most Pony barns bacause most Pony trainers have plenty of riders for Larges-can ride them themselves and don't even need to hire anybody else. Most of the kids with Large
Ponies are older anyway and the biggest need in a Pony barn is for training up the Smalls and most of the Mediums for their kidlet riders and potential buyers.

Not to get sidetracked into (another) PC weight thread...but OP asked if she was a little big for most Pony barns of she is interested in a riding position.


I am in a big Pony barn and the WS riders are 5'6 and under-maybe one or two have been a mite taller but most have barely topped 5'.

OP can always ask and there may be a spot for her. She may be able to carry her height and weight in a way that works on a Pony...but that still is a long way from the tiny one that she would be training for-and the darn Pony will get that.