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  1. #1
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    Default Spin-off of "Adults on Ponies" Thread

    I didn't want to hijack Dressagetraks' thread but it did make me wonder about something I saw at a local barn recently ...

    This is a hunter-jumper barn and some of the children ride ponies. I love ponies! And I love seeing new young riders starting out on appropriately sized mounts rather than on horses too tall to be convenient. To see a child learning to groom and tack up a pony he/she can actually reach ...

    Anyway ... a friend of mine's child rides there and has been riding a wonderful Welsh-cross who is just over 13 hands--plenty of room for the child to grow into.

    They recently sold the Welsh-cross and bought a horse.

    A 16-hand horse. The horse is taller than the child. Child can't groom horse without help, can't saddle horse (due to the fact that horse's back is several inches above the top of child's head), can't bridle horse. Forget mounting without help (even with a 3-step mounting block)!

    OK, so horse is VERY quiet. Has a good horse trot, and can step over fences pony had to jump. And child can still be riding horse 7 years from now. And pony did have pony moments.

    But why would anybody buy a 16-hand horse for a child who isn't even 5 feet? Even I had trouble mounting horse, from the 3-step. Thank goodness he stands as quietly as he goes!
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    I didn't want to hijack Dressagetraks' thread but it did make me wonder about something I saw at a local barn recently ...

    This is a hunter-jumper barn and some of the children ride ponies. I love ponies! And I love seeing new young riders starting out on appropriately sized mounts rather than on horses too tall to be convenient. To see a child learning to groom and tack up a pony he/she can actually reach ...

    Anyway ... a friend of mine's child rides there and has been riding a wonderful Welsh-cross who is just over 13 hands--plenty of room for the child to grow into.

    They recently sold the Welsh-cross and bought a horse.

    A 16-hand horse. The horse is taller than the child. Child can't groom horse without help, can't saddle horse (due to the fact that horse's back is several inches above the top of child's head), can't bridle horse. Forget mounting without help (even with a 3-step mounting block)!

    OK, so horse is VERY quiet. Has a good horse trot, and can step over fences pony had to jump. And child can still be riding horse 7 years from now. And pony did have pony moments.

    But why would anybody buy a 16-hand horse for a child who isn't even 5 feet? Even I had trouble mounting horse, from the 3-step. Thank goodness he stands as quietly as he goes!
    Because in NA, bigger is better. I have my youngest riding an 11.2h pony. they make a perfect pair, he can load him in the trailer, tack/untack, handle him when he misbehaves and compete effectively on him not just in showing but also rides him in LDs and 50 mile endurance rides.

    I've also been offered cold hard cash for him more then a few times in the 3 years I've owned the pony, but he's not for sale until my son outgrows him. So some people DO appreciate that the appropriate sized mount, whether it be pony/horse is the right way to go - however they are a minority - most people seem to equate larger=more athletic. Lucky for me - I don't -which means I get the talented smaller mounts all to myself and my kids to win with
    Quote Originally Posted by ExJumper View Post
    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.



  3. #3
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    I'm just over 5' (5'2" to be exact) and I have trouble getting on my 15.3Hh.

    As a child my favourite horse was a "huge" palomino draft cross (he was probably 15.3 too but I was much smaller), he could lift me right off my feet if I hung onto his halter... ♥ yah Chewie

    And I had to get a stool out every day before I tacked him up, I still get a stool out if I want to do a really good job on my mare today!

    Absolutely I would MUCH rather have my children on a 18Hh gentle giant then a pony; but maybe I have just ridden too many ponies...
    "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
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  4. #4
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    I grew up riding horses, from age 8/60lbs. Somehow it hasn't ruined me as a person.

    For my particular barn, it was a $$ issue. They taught both children and adults, and could only support a certain number of lesson horses. The adults didn't want to/couldn't ride ponies. The children didn't give a flying flip what they were riding as long as it vaguely resembled an equine. So horses won out in favor of ponies.

    I didn't sit on a real pony (I'm not talking the short 14-something Appy's and QH's, but a real 12hh pony monster) until well into my riding career...it was a big change! I do love them though, adorable little things. And I'm still short enough and light enough to be riding them!



  5. #5
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    I love the fact that I rode an 11 hand pony for the most of my childhood. She taught me to ride, not back down from horses/ponies, determination and drive.

    I wanted to ride horses, (I was very tall for my age) but the fact of the matter was, was that I was to ride my mom's driving pony so we could have one animal instead of two. (save money, and we only had 1.5 acres).

    I personally think that naughty ponies make great riders. A naughty pony that tries to get away with murder, pulls dirty tricks and tries endlessly to ditch its rider prepares young riders for all kinds of rides for the future.



  6. #6
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    I was just thinking about horse/pony sizes today. I started riding at a barn where the tallest horse is 15.3hh. I am used to the 16.2hh Throughbred I used to own. Now I'm riding mostly 14.3.15.1hh Welsh ponies. I worry about them carrying me. I'm 5'5 150lbs but I'm just used to a bigger mount. I still look proportionate to a section D since they are stocky and solid. They ain't no TB though



  7. #7
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    It has been my experience that ponies come in two types: 1. evil little bastards and 2. insanely expensive! We did start her out with a quarter pony that may have measured 14.2 but after a couple years we started looking for something we could both ride. I won't deny that the horse we found at a rescue exceeded our hopes by about a million times but even a "regular" horse would have been ok. It's not like I let her ride unattended anyway so who cares if I have to put the saddle on?

    We adopted him 7 years ago and with him and 23 and her at 16 they are both still going strong.



  8. #8
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    My parents bought me a too-big horse before I totally outgrew my pony size-wise. I had outgrown her ability-wise, though. I was growing quickly and we all figured that it was better to buy me a horse with the potential to develop with me rather than going with another pony that I'd be too tall for in a year or two. Wound up being a great decision, even though at first I did need a stool to saddle and groom him.

    Around here it is actually somewhat unusual that I had a pony at all, though. Most kids grow up riding horses, usually stock horses since it's cowboy country so not like huge warmbloods but definitely 15-16 hand horses, even really tiny kids.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    I didn't want to hijack Dressagetraks' thread but it did make me wonder about something I saw at a local barn recently ...

    This is a hunter-jumper barn and some of the children ride ponies. I love ponies! And I love seeing new young riders starting out on appropriately sized mounts rather than on horses too tall to be convenient. To see a child learning to groom and tack up a pony he/she can actually reach ...

    Anyway ... a friend of mine's child rides there and has been riding a wonderful Welsh-cross who is just over 13 hands--plenty of room for the child to grow into.

    They recently sold the Welsh-cross and bought a horse.

    A 16-hand horse. The horse is taller than the child. Child can't groom horse without help, can't saddle horse (due to the fact that horse's back is several inches above the top of child's head), can't bridle horse. Forget mounting without help (even with a 3-step mounting block)!

    OK, so horse is VERY quiet. Has a good horse trot, and can step over fences pony had to jump. And child can still be riding horse 7 years from now. And pony did have pony moments.

    But why would anybody buy a 16-hand horse for a child who isn't even 5 feet? Even I had trouble mounting horse, from the 3-step. Thank goodness he stands as quietly as he goes!
    Because it sounds like a dead quiet packer. Because it sounds like a better mount for a beginner jump rider. Because it sounds calm and with an awesome brain, as opposed to those quick and devious pony minds. It the horse that matters, not the size.

    Sorry, this is a topic I feel very strongly about. I'm 5'1'' now and I'm an ammy. One can imagine how small I was growing up! I did the short stirrup on a 15.3h ottb. My first jumper was a 17h packer and I recently leased a 17.2h jumper to move up to the level 4s on.

    People tell me I shouldn't be riding such big horses. That small horses are more than capable of doing the same things and that I would fit them better. While all of that is true, it just so happened that in my specific circumstances the horses most suited to my purpose were bigger.

    I LOVE ponies, and I ride them now more than ever. But the bottom line is that some horses are quieter and more dependable than ponies. Just because a rider fits them size-wise does not make them a suitable mount.



  10. #10
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    With a little kid, assuming they're tall enough their legs reach past the saddle flap, #1 question is "Is it a calm horse who can take a joke?" Temperament, sense, quiet.

    I think tiny adults look silly on oversized horses and overmatched even when they're not, but it's their money. With a kid? It can be the fugliest animal alive and 10hh or 18, so long as the kid can stay on and the pony/horse is quiet.



  11. #11
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    For the longest time I was quite sure my Paso Fino was 14 hands. I kept saying, "technically, he's a pony. But don't tell him that." Finally sticked him and he's 14.1 so he qualifies as a HORSE. I'm 5'6 so my legs are a little long for him, but he's just the best ride in the world! I can't even imagine riding a 16 hand horse now like I did in my youth - too far to fall!



  12. #12
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    Because someone in the 70s started a fad for the small person on BIG horse look and so many fell for it you now see all the "is this horse too small for me" threads.

    East coast late 60s early 70s most horses were under 16 hands. There was a premium you paid for a 'big' horse who was over 16 hands. Most of us were more likely to be in the 15.2 and under range for all sorts of work.

    Today a 15.3 hand horse is written up in show reports as small or diminuative or the like and the reporters in horse magazines seem almost surprised they can get around the course. People regularly look for over 17 hand horses. I heard of a therapeutic center that starts our riding double with student and instructor. They insist they can only use 16.2 and preferably draft crosses for the work cause the horse can't be expected to carry two.

    It won't change until we all decide smaller will do the job and probably more efficiently.



  13. #13
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    Er...if they have at least one full-size adult riding double, then yes, I would be looking for short-backed draft crosses with very heavy bones. Riding double on light-framed, longer-backed horses isn't in fact a great idea. Though 16.2+ seems really tall for sidewalkers to deal with.



  14. #14
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    It is not uncommon, in my area, for a child to completly bypass a pony and go right to a horse...ponies have evil reputations among many in my area. I got the raised eyebrows when I bought my son a pony years ago..pony was a good pony though. my 5 year old son (at the time) could handle her safely, groom her,ect without much help.

    he is now 10 and riding fullsize (15 hand) horses..which he needs help tacking up..mounting he manages (thanks to his friend who showed him how to shimmy up the saddle strings..yes, his horse is quiet..LOL)...but its hard with him and my younger students, as they cant tack up totally by themselves..thus they potentially "loose out" on the practice and learning experience.



  15. #15
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    Not all ponies are evil. My family raised Welsh, mostly Sect. A, although some grew into B. I rode them into college, and I topped out north of 5'8" and about 150 lbs. Not long rides, but long enough to train. The Welsh are tractable and want to please.

    The key to starting ponies is understanding that they are very smart, and while mind-boggling cute when young, will grow. So what's cute when they're little - nibbling, striking, pushing - is dangerous when they're 500 lbs or more. So don't let them get away with anything. Don't fight with them, don't tease them.

    The boys down the road had a pony, and thought it was great fun when it bucked. Well, they ruined that pony, because it bucked all the time. Fun for them, not fun for whoever the next owner would be when they outgrew it.

    Our ponies weren't saints but when they left our place, they were solid citizens who would go anywhere, do pretty much anything, could be ridden or driven by kids. We knew they were going to be kid ponies, mostly owned by families who weren't particularly horse-savvy. So we worked hard at it. They were shown, some went to parades, went on trail rides, some worked cattle.

    I know the conventional, collective wisdom is the pony is a four-letter word. But I've always held that's a people problem, not a pony problem. They're better than that.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoForAGallop View Post
    I grew up riding horses, from age 8/60lbs. Somehow it hasn't ruined me as a person.

    For my particular barn, it was a $$ issue. They taught both children and adults, and could only support a certain number of lesson horses. The adults didn't want to/couldn't ride ponies. The children didn't give a flying flip what they were riding as long as it vaguely resembled an equine. So horses won out in favor of ponies.
    Same here!!! So I needed a step stool to groom and tack, big whoop. Taught me really early how to foil giraffe-imitating bridle evaders, too.

    I love ponies and think a cute kid on a cute pony is pretty much the most adorable thing ever. That said, I'd MUCH rather see a kid learning to ride for the first time on a solid citizen 16hh horse than on a bratty 13hh pony. There's a time and a place for bratty ponies (I love em!), but it is not the super-beginner stage of riding. If budget/practicality makes a nanny pony impossible, then go for the nanny horse!

    When I was 9 or so (~60lbs.) I learned to canter on a 17h chestnut gelding (who would slowly come to a stop if I got unbalanced). That was a HUGE confidence builder, to be sure! I figured if I could ride and eventually control a giant like that, I could do anything!



  17. #17
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    The barn I grew up riding at had mostly medium sized horses (15-15.3 hh). There were usually 2-3 school ponies and a giant or two.

    Having the ponies was nice for summer camp and beginner lessons for smaller kids since they could learn how to groom and tack up their mount themselves. These 3 ponies that I remember were very quiet. They did pull their little tricks but they were mostly mild and ended up helping the student learn in the long run.

    I understand why they had mostly horses though, since they had little kids, teens, adults...just people of all ages and sizes riding there.

    I rode a pony for the first summer I rode there and after that the next 6-7 years were mostly all horses and the occasional 17hh giant.

    There were some horses that were saints as far as the beginner lesson program went. Having them being horses was nice because a small child beginner could plod around on them but if an adult were to ride them the horse could handle their size as well.

    I remember helping kids numerous times because they couldn't reach the back of the horse etc.

    But what it comes down to for me is the horse/pony's attitude. If the best school horse for the job happens to be a horse so be it. If it's a pony that's fine too.

    I don't care if the thing has half a tail, the ugliest coat pattern or a blockhead. If it does it's job that it needs to do the best then it has a place. Safe mounts are crucial to any lesson program IMO...especially when it comes to beginner's or re-riders needing to establish some confidence.

    A medium sized horse may be the best "value" at times as the child wont outgrow it height wise as quickly as a pony in some cases.



  18. #18
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    If the horse is good, and the kid is comfy - I don't see a problem with this. Like may people, I started out at a lesson barn where all the schoolies were horses. The most "beginner friendly" horses were quite tall OTTB's that were retired show horses.

    Personally, I LOVE the fact that I can finally easily get on from the ground on my 13.3 pony. I'm only 5' tall - and even my last horse who was 15.1 I had difficulties ground mounting.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliverreed View Post
    For the longest time I was quite sure my Paso Fino was 14 hands. I kept saying, "technically, he's a pony. But don't tell him that." Finally sticked him and he's 14.1 so he qualifies as a HORSE. I'm 5'6 so my legs are a little long for him, but he's just the best ride in the world! I can't even imagine riding a 16 hand horse now like I did in my youth - too far to fall!
    A horse is anything above 14.2 so assuming you measured accurately you do have a pony.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    A horse is anything above 14.2 so assuming you measured accurately you do have a pony.
    Whew!
    I was going to post this info, then wondered if things had changed since I showed...looks like they have not

    Re: kid on horse
    I watched a couple friends' kids go through the agony of outgrowing their ponies & having to move up to a horse.

    One was a leased pony, so not so awful as kid got her first Very Own horse out of the deal.
    And at 12yo she was starting to look not so great in the showring on her 11h pony anymore.
    Her placings bore this out, she rode the snot out of the pony and placed poorly after winning 99% of the time when she was smaller.
    Just not the Right Pic for the H/J judges, I guess.

    The other kid was petite and got moved up from a Small to a Large (really a 14.1 QH) and went on to show that until she aged out.

    Still both girls were pretty unhappy at giving up the ponies.

    Now that I am Old, my 12h Hackney is looking mighty inviting compared to Mr 17h+ WB.....
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
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