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Keeping Ponies as Pets

Information and Pictures

The backside of a white and brown pony is standing in grass and it is looking forward.

Jazzmine the Paint Pony

Type

A large-hoofed, warm-blooded mammal (Equus caballus).

General

Owning a pony is a very rewarding experience, but it is not for everyone. Be sure to thoroughly research before taking on the responsibility of owning a pony. If you want to learn to ride it is a good idea to take horseback riding lessons. If you enjoy it you may want to consider leasing a pony. There are many barns which will board your pony for you and allow you to come and ride anytime. Some of them will do the majority of the work involved in owning a pony, however this can get pricey. Know the pony you are riding. Ponies spook very easily. Simple things like sticks and forest animals commonly spook ponies. When riding a pony a helmet should be worn at all times.

Riding

There are two different types of riding, Western and English. Western generally consists of barrel racing, keyhole and pole bending among other events, whereas English generally consists of dressage, jumping, polo, Lacrosse and more. When dressage is preformed it looks like the pony is dancing. The rider is guiding the pony through a series of complex maneuvers by slight movements of the rider's hands, legs and weight. The saddle a Western rider uses is different than the saddle an English rider would use. One key difference is the Western saddle consists of a horn, while the English saddle does not.

Spaying and Neutering

Un-neutered male ponies tend to fight with other ponies. If you plan on keeping a male pony with a herd of other ponies or horses it is a good idea to get it fixed.

Size

A normal sized pony is averaged to about 12.2 hands high (hand = 4 in.) Ponies range from about 200 lbs. to 275 lbs.

Living Conditions

For every pony you need to have at least three acres and an additional acre for every additional pony. The area must be fenced in. Some use barbed wire or electric fences to secure there ponies. Barbed wire is one of the most dangerous fences to use around ponies. Most ponies wouldn't see the wire because it is too thin for them to see. They can get cut and even caught in it. They need some kind of shelter, at the very least a lean-to to shield them from the wind and rain. Some ponies are hardier and can get away with a lean-to, but some ponies are on schedules and need to be put in a stall for a period of time during the day or night.

Clean-up

About every two days, you might need to muck (clean) your ponies’ stall or lean-to.

Grooming

Ponies need daily grooming. This includes: picking their hooves, combing their mane, brushing with a curry comb (hard brush) then a soft brush after to get the loose dirt off, bathing after workouts, and using fly spray. About every three months, some ponies should be seen by a farrier to determine if their hooves need to be shaped. Daily grooming will reduce stress, keep your pony comfortable, healthy and looking great!

Feeding

Ponies need hay daily or a field with plenty of grass to graze on. Some ponies require grain, oats, bran, sweet feed and hay pellets. Ponies can eat all the hay they like, however too much grain can cause them to founder. Grain has to be carefully monitored. Ponies drink water and should have it provided at all times when out grazing or when in a stall. Be sure to keep the water clean. When a pony drinks it often back washes back into the supply. Their water needs to be changed and refilled often.

Exercise

Ponies require daily exercise. They need to have enough land to exercise themselves and most enjoy having a person to ride them. Ponies need companionship, either another pony(s), or some other farm animal. Some owners have been known to use animals such as goats, cows and sheep to keep them company. In general, ponies will not be happy living alone.

Life Expectancy

A healthy pony will live to about 35 or maybe even 40 years old.

Health Problems

Some health problems include: colic (a common killer of ponies, which is a bad stomach ache), worms, lameness, tying-up, hoof cracks, dental problems and hoof wall loss.

Gestation

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Origin

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Terms and Materials

Saddle - A leather seat for a pony rider, secured on an animal's back by a girth.

Bridle - A harness, consisting of a headstall, bit, and reins, which fits on a pony’s head and used to restrain or guide the animal.

Crop - A short whip used in horseback riding, with a loop at the end.

Halter - A device that fits around the head or neck of an animal and is used to lead or secure the animal.

Hackamore - A bitless bridle, sometimes used to break a pony into a bridle.

Reins - A long narrow leather strap attached to each end of the bit of a bridle and used by a rider or driver to control a pony or other animal.

Saddle Pad - A padded blanket that goes between the pony’s back and the saddle to prevent irritation.

Bit -The metal mouthpiece of a bridle, serving to control and direct an animal.

Stirrups - A device where the rider puts their foot hung from either side of a pony’s saddle to support the rider's foot in mounting and riding.

Gelding - A neutered male pony.

Stallion - An intact (un-neutered) male pony.

Mare - A female pony.

Foal - A baby pony.

Filly - A female baby pony.

Colt - A male baby pony.

A brown pony is standing in grass and it has hay in its mout looking forward.

Lacy the Pony

A tan with white Pony is eating grass in a field. There is a Great Pyrenees dog watching it.

Butterscotch the pony at 30+ years old

A tan with white Pony is leading, a brown pony and a Great Pyrenees dog on a walk around the yard. The Pony is being led by a girl in a backwards hat.

Butterscotch the pony, Amie the human, Lacy the pony and Tacoma the Great Pyrenees

The backside of two Ponies that are being led on a walk through a yard by a girl in a backwards hat.

Amie, Butterscotch and Lacy

A tan with white Pony is standing next to a line of bushes and it is looking to the left. It has a saddle on its back.A brown pony with blonde hair is eating grass next to an brown and white paint pony who is also grazing.

Jazzmine the Paint Pony with her horse friend

Close up - A white and brown pony is standing in grass. Its hair is blowing in the wind and it is looking forward.

Jazzmine the Paint Pony in her winter coat

Side view - A white and brown pony is walking across a field looking to the left.

Jazzmine the Paint Pony in her winter coat

A brown with white pony with blonde hair is standing near a an old medal bathtub in front of a wire fence. A brown with white pony with blonde hair is standing near a tub and it is in front of a wire fence. It is looking at a hose snaking through the fence.
A brown with white Pony with blonde hair is standing in grass and it is looking forward. There are three other Ponies in the background.

Information written by Amie and Jessica, edited by Dog Breed Info Center®, Horses with Amie