Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by Allison Price
First things first
Merriam-Webster defines pony to be “a small horse; especially one among several”. Horse breeds A small group of stocky animals that are known for their gentleness, endurance and strength.”
Miniature Horse is defined by the same dictionary as… nothing. Miniature horses are not listed in the dictionary.Get our weekly Enewsletter about horses
What makes the horse industry different?
Based on stature and size, Ponies can be distinguished from horses of full-size. Ponies are usually smaller than horses, with a length of 14.2 inches. Ponies often have thicker tails, manes and coats than horses. Ponies are smaller than full-sized horses and have shorter legs, thicker necks, wider barrels and more rounded shoulders. There are many breeds that can be classified as ponies. These range from the Shetland, Hackney, to the less-known Fell or Exmoor.Connemara Pony
Miniature Horses are currently bred to look like a full-sized horse, but on a smaller scale. It is a much smaller scale. The American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) states that they should be less than 34 inches tall at the top of their manes. Minis are measured in inches, not hands. The miniature horse has a longer neck, straight legs and a shorter back.
Minis can also be registered by the American Miniature Horse Registry, AMHR (between 34 and 38 inches).
Their current appearance and temperament are a result of the roles played by ponies and miniatures in history.
Miniature horses first appeared in 1650 at Versailles, where King Louis XIV maintained a zoo that featured unusual animals including miniature horses. Because of their small size, Miniature Horses were brought to America to work in the coal mines. They were also bred in South America to achieve the ideal proportions and petite size, as exemplified by the small Falabella.
Ponies are more robust and resilient than other horses. They had to survive in harsh environments and on rough terrain. In the 1800’s, they were domesticated and used for driving and coal mining. They have been living in the wild in the United States since the 1600’s, when they were found on Assateague Island off the coasts Maryland and Virginia.
What do you do with a tiny horse?
Both are loved by their owners.
The AMHA states that the American Miniature Horse (today’s American Miniature Horse) is “one of the most loved and fastest growing equine breeds.” Although they shouldn’t be ridden due to their small stature, they are very popular for driving and taking in-hand classes. According to the AMHA, Miniature Horse owners can come from all walks and backgrounds. Miniature horses are often owned by people with young children, retired adults who love life and others who are looking to make a living as therapy animals.
There are many breeds of pony, including a variety of ponies. They are popular as children’s mounts and compete in almost any equestrian sport. Ponies still work on farms in some communities because of their strength and ability to haul heavy equipment.
Although there is always some room for error when classifying horses, ponies and minis, this should help to clarify things for our smaller equine friends.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!