A common misconception is that ponies are baby horses. Ponies stay small their whole lives and there are distinct differences.

Difference by size

The easiest way to tell the difference between a pony and a horse is by size. If you’re an English rider, ponies are under 14.2 hands and often stockier than horses; if western rider they’re under 14 hands high. is measured at a horse’s or pony’s withers. The withers are the highest point of the body, at the base of the neck, between the shoulders. One hand is 4 inches (or 101.6mm); a measurement which originated from the average width of an adult male’s hand. Ponies also tend to have thicker coats, manes and tails than their larger counterparts.

Personality and characteristics

Ponies are remarkable strong for their size. Because of their stocky size, they’re known for pulling and carrying large loads; their hooves are more durable, too. Their thick coats and ability to shed makes them more able to handle wild temperature ranges. Pony temperaments find them to be more docile, stoic and smart than regular-sized horses.

Life span

Ponies can live a very long time. They often live into their 40’s and even 50’s. In fact, some of the record holders for oldest equines are ponies. Ponies often make great animals to ride as they get older.

Diet

Pony breeds generally handle a more limited diet then regular-sized horses, only needing about half the hay and almost no grain at all. That makes it very easy to overfeed a pony, so care needs to be taken to watch diets more closely. They are also to prone to Laminitis.