What is the Difference Between a Horse and a Pony?

What is the Difference Between a Horse and a Pony?

Posted by in Pigeon Forge Stables Blog | January 24, 2014
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Horse and pony outside in the winterLots of people don’t know the difference between horses and ponies. Is a pony a baby horse? Or maybe a pony is a different species altogether? Don’t worry if you’re confused, because we are here to set the record straight! As the premier location for horseback riding in Gatlinburg, Five Oaks Riding Stables wants its guests to be informed about all things related to horses. Keep on reading to learn what makes a pony a pony and a horse a horse (of course, of course).

The simplest answer to the question at hand is that a pony is a small horse. They are both members of the same species and have the same scientific name (Equus ferus caballus). However, there are official ways of deciding who is a horse and who is a pony

The number one distinguishing factor between horses and ponies is height. Traditionally, any adult animal shorter than 14.2 hands high (58 inches) is considered a pony. In addition to height, there are other features that differentiate the two animals. Ponies have shorter legs, broader foreheads, wider barrels, and thicker manes and tails. They are also calmer and often more cooperative with humans.

Simple right? Not so fast. There are a bunch of exceptions to the differences listed above. The 14.2 height cut off varies across competitions and countries. To complicate things further, there are some breeds of horses known as miniature horses, which are shorter than ponies, but still classified as horses!

So, when you see a short horse with a thick mane, chances are you’d be right in calling it a pony. But don’t be surprised if an expert tells you otherwise!

Five Oaks Riding Stables is the best place for horseback riding in Gatlinburg. With 60 horses to ride, two different trails, and a 70 acre nature park to explore, our stables are a must-see vacation attraction. Visit our About page to learn more about our stables!


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