Pony Breeds – The most popular ponies at a Glance

Ponies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. However, the pony breeds differ not only in appearance, but also in their nature and character. There are many breeds of ponies for both adults and children. In this article we give you an overview of the most popular pony breeds.

The Connemara Pony

  • Place of Origin: Western Ireland
  • Colour: gray, dun (rarely foxes, bays and black horses)
  • Stick size: 138-153 cm
  • Weight: about 350-400 kg
  • Suitability: Riding, therapy and carriage horse

The Connemara Pony is an Irish breed of small horse that is valued for its health, frugality and dependability. With their well-proportioned, strong physique, high willingness to work and sure-footedness, they are particularly well suited as a working pony in front of the wagon. Even as a sport pony, the Connemara pony benefits from these properties. Here it scores particularly well in jumping , but Connemara ponies are also often used in dressage and driving .

The Dartmoor Pony

  • Place of origin: England
  • Colour: black, bay, fox, gray
  • Height: 116 - 127 cm
  • Weight: about 225 kg
  • Suitability: driving horse, children's riding horse, landscape protection/biotope maintenance
The Dartmoor Pony 's original home is the high moors of southern England. The sparse landscape and harsh conditions there pose no problem for the robust pony. The character of this pony breed is characterized by friendliness and composure. Despite its popularity, the Dartmoor Pony is an endangered breed in all breeding areas.

The German riding pony

  • Place of origin: Germany
  • Color: all coat colors
  • Stick size: 138-148 cm
  • Weight: approx. 325 kg
  • Suitability: Sport, leisure and youth riding horse 

The German riding pony is often referred to as a "miniature warmblood", but this is only partly true. At first glance, the two breeds actually look very similar, but in breeding the German riding pony, great importance is attached to maintaining pony-typical characteristics. The German riding pony is ideally suited for all equestrian disciplines . It is used particularly frequently in tournament sports, where it is mostly ridden by children and young people, but also often by adults.

The Exmoor Pony

  • Place of origin: England
  • color: brown
  • Height: 115 - 130 cm
  • Weight: about 225 kg
  • Suitability: Riding and utility horse 
    The Exmoor Pony is the oldest English breed and the most original breed within Europe. This pony breed has hardly changed for thousands of years and still resembles the original type very much today. In their homeland, the Exmoor, the ponies live semi-wild, without human influence. The Exmoor Pony has excellent social behavior and is extremely strong-willed, intelligent and open-minded. Unfortunately, the breed is also one of the endangered pony breeds.

The Falabella Pony

  • Place of origin: Argentina
  • Color: All colors
  • Stick size: up to 86 cm
  • Weight: about 50-90 kg
  • Suitability: Show and carriage pony

The Argentine Falabella Pony stands out for its miniature size and is known for its good-natured, friendly nature. It is considered very people-related, intelligent and good-natured, even if it is sometimes said to have a somewhat idiosyncratic character. Due to its size, it can only be ridden by very small children, if at all, and is therefore mostly used as a show pony or in front of the carriage It has a long life expectancy, often living to over 30 years.

The Haflinger

  • Place of origin: Tyrol
  • Color: light foxes
  • Height: 138 - 150 cm
  • Weight: about 400-600 kg
  • Suitability: Sport and leisure horse, medium-heavy draft horse, agricultural work 

    The breed, originally from South Tyrol, has developed from a robust draft and pack horse into a modern, rideable family and leisure pony that impresses with a wide range of possible uses. The Haflinger impresses with its beautiful and elegant appearance as well as with its reliable and loyal character. The nature of the Haflinger can be described as open, friendly and very willing to learn. They are very people-oriented and quite uncomplicated in keeping.

The Icelander

  • Place of origin: Iceland
  • Colour: all colors except tiger spotted
  • Height: 125-148 cm
  • Weight: about 311-500 kg
  • Suitability: riding and trekking horse, special riding sports for gaited horses 
    As the name suggests, the Icelandic pony comes from Iceland and is a versatile and very robust pony breed. It also belongs to the group of gaited horses , which means that in addition to the gaits of walk, trot and canter, it masters two other gaits, tölt and racing pace. Due to the stable physique, adults can also ride Icelandic ponies without any problems.

The Lewitzer

  • Place of origin: Mecklenburg-West Pomerania
  • Colour: predominantly tobiano checks
  • Height: 130-148 cm
  • Weight: about 350-450 kg
  • Suitability: sport, leisure and youth riding horse 
    The Lewitzer is a comparatively young pony breed from Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, which impresses with its striking appearance. The color of the coat is typical of the Lewitzer, because the breeding goal is exclusively a tobiano check (plate check). He has a friendly temperament and an affable character, is robust and has a long life expectancy.

The Shetland Pony

  • Place of Origin: Shetland Islands
  • Colour: all horse colors (tiger spots are forbidden in breeding)
  • Height: 87-107 cm
  • Weight: about 130-280 kg
  • Suitability: Children's and driving pony, working pony, show pony 
    Originally from the Shetland Islands, the Shetland Pony was used as a pit pony in the mining industry during the Industrial Revolution, where its small size combined with its enormous ability to pull made it a valuable asset. In relation to their size, Shetland ponies are one of the strongest horse breeds, they are also very robust, intelligent and durable.

The Welsh Pony

  • Place of origin: Wales
  • Color: All coat colors except pinto
  • Height: up to 122 cm (A), up to 137 cm (B+C), from 137 cm (D)
  • Weight: about 350-550 kg
  • Suitability: Riding, children's and carriage horse (depending on the section) 

The Welsh ponies originating from Wales are bred in four different types. The smallest and daintiest among them is the Section A Welsh Pony Due to its size, its noble appearance and its good-natured character, it is an excellent driving pony. The  Welsh Pony Section B is slightly larger, but also has a very friendly character and is often used as a riding pony for children. The C section of the Welsh pony is the same size as type B, but has a much stronger physique. It is therefore often used for hunting and trekking, among other things. The guy Section D also called Welsh Cob. He is the largest and strongest Welsh type and is suitable for all branches of sport, as well as a leisure horse for the whole family.

Exterior of a pony

There are different breeds of ponies, which differ greatly in body type. Many ponies or small horses are  heavily built  and have strong legs with strong joints. They also have small but hard, resilient hooves. The head of the small horses is also small and has large nostrils.

They also have small ears and a thick, sometimes wavy long coat. Typical for ponies is the full hair of the tail. Pony breeds tend  to be easy feeders , have a strong character and are confident. This type of pony includes, for example, the  Shetland pony  , the Dartmoor pony or the  Icelandic horse breed .

On the other hand, other horses belong to the so-called  sport ponies , which are very similar to warmblood breeds. They look more like a miniature version and also run in tournaments. They are talented in jumping or learn up to high levels of dressage . However, such a pony is built much lighter and can only carry adults to a limited extent. Only children, teenagers and very petite adults can ride the small sport horses. Typical breeds belonging to this type are the  German riding pony , the Welsh pony or the Connemara pony.

Use of pony breeds

Primarily, these animals are recreational horses or are dependable horses for riding schools . German riding ponies, Haflingers and Icelandic horses, which can easily carry adult riders, are particularly popular. Small horses are better suited for beginners as they are often more comfortable to sit on.

In Germany, ponies are also bred in many regions. Every mare and every stallion, as well as large horses , take aptitude and performance tests. Depending on their pedigree, the foals are sold for a large sum. Especially sports ponies that meet FEI standards are very popular with young, ambitious riders.

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