What is the difference between a pony and a miniature horse?

What is the difference between a pony and a miniature horse?

We all love horses here, no matter how big or small. They are all special in their own way and while they are all different from breed to breed, they manage to generate the same level of happiness every time we see them jogging happily.

But while we can all tell the difference between a huge Arabian stallion and a little pony, what many people don’t realize is that they may have actually mistaken the little pony for a miniature horse.

This is actually much more common than you may think, as while there are very clear differences between the two, they are often overlooked by the common horse lover and instead dismissed as one and the same. most of the time.

To get to the bottom of this and really answer the question as to what the differences are between the two, we have decided to bring you this article.

Apart from the obvious set of answers, we have also brought some additional trivia fun facts about them that you will surely love to hear.

So, let’s not waste any more time and instead let’s jump right into a quick description of what a miniature pony and horse are, and more specifically, what separates the two to begin with:

What is a pony?

Photo by Globe City Guide / unsplash.com

The saddest part about ponies is not the fact that they are easily recognizable, but that there are over 350 breeds of horses and ponies around the world, and only a handful of people know how to tell them apart.

To put it bluntly though, ponies are considered to be the category of small horse that you can find at most beauty shows, as even the largest adult will not be taller than 15 hands or 58 inches overall.

As far as general breeds go, you can find Shetland, Exmoor, Hackneys and even Fell ponies almost everywhere.

according to the actual Merriam-Webster Dictionarya pony is just a small horse that is particularly stocky and small, while also being quite hardy and kind to any living creature.

But what this description doesn’t mention is the fact that ponies aren’t always that stocky, and more specifically, they’re not always the gentlest of creatures. Let’s take the Galician pony for example, it is the complete opposite of what the dictionary would call a pony thanks to its soft and light fur and its rather bad disposition.

Chincoteague Pony
Chincoteague pony / Photo by dbking / wikipedia.org

However, ponies have been around for a long time; in fact, they have been in the US since the 1600s, and the main reason they have such thick fur is definitely the fact that they had to live in cold climates, which would have easily led to their death. frozen if they had not adapted.

It took humanity up to 200 years to see the potential in their compact size, and before long they were domesticated and dumped into the mines, where they could easily fit in and move about without causing too much of a fuss.

Alternatively, they also became very useful on the farm, although they weren’t considered much superior to a simple normal-sized horse, which is why they weren’t necessarily as popular there, especially since they were just as expensive to get. if not more expensive than the average horse.

What is a Miniature Horse?

What is a miniature horse?
Photo by Mark Edwards / pixabay.com

Miniature horses are, as the name implies, just another subtype of horse, except that they are incredibly small in stature.

No miniature horse will be taller than 34 inches, and as such they are much smaller than most ponies out there.

If you want to see a fine example of a miniature horse, you can look up the Caspian horse from Mesopotamia.

While long thought to be extinct, 1965 was their best year as this is where a few remaining specimens were discovered by a team of breeders and crossed with a miniature wild horse to regain their numbers.

Another big difference between a miniature horse and a pony can be seen in their DNA, as miniature horses apparently still retain their horse phenotypes, which technically means they have more in common with Arabian stallions than any other pony.

Ava the miniature horse
Ava The Miniature Horse / facebook.com

But since we can’t actually see the DNA strands, we look at ponies and miniature horses and think they’re the same thing.

This is actually a big mistake, as horses like Icelanders and Fjords are very different from any other ponies in every way except their size and bulk.

The more we look at miniature horses, the more we realize just how fascinating they really are. For example, you can see that they first arose around the year 1650 at the hands of King Louis XIV of France.

He was known for his love of strange and unusual creatures, so it’s no surprise that he instantly fell in love with them and added them to his own personal zoo.

They were subsequently employed in mining jobs in the United States as well, due to their small size, and before long they became a community staple that we still love to this day.

Now that we know what they are and some of the key differences between them, how about we give you a quick rundown of all the other differences we’ve spotted between the two, namely:

The differences between horses and ponies

miniature horse size
Miniature Equine Club of Southeast Wisconsin / facebook.com

The size

So, just to reiterate very quickly, its overall size actually says a lot about whether it’s a pony or a miniature horse.

Although ponies are very small in size, miniature horses are much shorter and as such you can easily tell them apart when you see them side by side.

For the most part, ponies won’t be taller than 14.2 hands or 57 inches overall, while miniature horses will be just 34 inches at their peak.

Body Composition

shetland ponies
Shetland Ponies / Photo by JackieLou DL / pixabay.com

As for the body, even though they may look similar from the outside, you can actually easily tell the difference between the two just by looking at their builds.

Ponies are just short and stocky, while Miniature Horses are much more muscular and are generally much leaner than Ponies.

They also have longer necks and are known to look much finer, due to their coats being less harsh than ponies.

As such, you’ll see miniature horses much more often at beauty shows than you’ll ever see ponies, as they’re much more graceful and cute, while ponies are more rugged and wild-looking.

life expectancy

shetland pony with a foal
Photo by otsphoto / stock.adobe.com

In case you didn’t know, miniature horses actually live much longer than ponies, simply because they were used to living in extremely harsh conditions in the wild, and have evolved to withstand the test of time. .

As such, miniature horses can live up to 30 years in total, while ponies struggle to exceed 23 years.rd to 25he year of its useful life.

The uses

Uses of Miniature Horses and Ponies
Photo by Dziurek / stock.adobe.com

We know that both were used at the same time for mining, but what we didn’t mention is the fact that due to their toughness, ponies were used much more for mining than miniature horses.

Instead, miniature horses ended up being used to give rides to children and beginners, and because of how delicate they turned out, they ended up being the perfect pets for wealthy families in the 1900s and even to this day.

Ponies, however, were still used for mining work, although they also became useful when it came to work, and more specifically ranching and farms.

Since they are broader than miniature horses and more resistant to the harsh native climates, it wasn’t long before farmers began asking them for help. around the farm.

However, if you are a beginner and want to get a small horse to get used to riding it, or if you want a small horse for your child, you may want to learn how to differentiate between the two, as miniature horses will definitely demonstrate this. to be a better option for you in that case.


Difference Between a Pony and a Miniature Horse
Photo by Janet Van Ommeren / pixabay.com

So while there are definitely a lot of similarities between miniature horses and ponies, we can safely say that there are also a lot of differences that you can now spot right away so you can tell them apart.

Regardless of which one you have or end up getting, remember to give them lots of love and affection as they really deserve it no matter what species they are to begin with.

Pony vs Miniature Horse Pin