Everyone knows the pony. But what is a double pony? Why two appellations ? What are the categories ponies and double ponies? Why a big pony is sometimes called horse ? What consequences on their use? Our responses.
What is a pony?
A pony – feminine ponette – is an equine of small size which differs from the horse by an often thicker mane, a thick tail and coat, a broad body and forehead, and a heavier bone structure. Are equally shorter proportionally: his legs, neckline and head. In its definition of the pony, and in order to facilitate official competitions, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) only takes into account the size of the animal which must be established within 1.48 m at the withers or 1.49 m hooked.
Where does the pony come from?
The pony originates from horse populations savages having evolved in areas of northern hemisphere characterized by a hostile climate where little food would have slowed its growth. Its reduced size would therefore result from a natural selection and an adaptation to its environment. By domesticating it, man continued the selection to make it a resistant and hardy animal, able to help him, especially in the work of fields and freight transport.
What are the different categories of ponies?
The International Equestrian Federation divides the ponies into 4 categories based on their size. The measurement is established at the withers on an unshod animal:
- Category A = height less than 1.07 m;
- Category B = height between 1.08 and 1.30 m;
- Category C = height between 1.31 and 1.40 m;
- Category D = height between 1.41 and 1.48 m.
What are the different categories of double ponies?
The generic term of double-pony designates the breeds greater classified in size categories C and D by the FEI. Being able to reach 1.50 m, the tallest specimens are able to carry adults in competition. Some double-ponies are also called crosses between ponies and horses. However, the expression double-pony does not correspond to any classification official and as such, is not used by professionals in the equestrian world. Below are some breeds considered to be double ponies:
Double-pony or small horse?
It is not always easy to make the distinction between a double-pony and a horse. Examples in 2 contexts:
- Competitions. Certain breeds considered to be horses can give birth to subjects which, when adults, are the size of a pony. In this case, individuals keep their original classification and are authorized by the FEI to compete in classes in the horse category. Namely that an equine possessing two parents ponies will be categorized as a horse if its size is greater than 1.48 m which is quite common in certain breeds of ponies;
- The farms. Sometimes equine breeds with an average height at the withers less than 1.47 m are considered horses. This is the case with Merens (also called Ariège pony) which measures on average between 1.45 m and 1.55 m for a weight ranging from 400 to 500 kg. Breeders of the breed prefer to place it in the more prestigious category of horse, but the equine can participate in some competitions as a pony. Other examples: the horse Icelandic is, despite his size and double-pony appearance, seen as a horse by his riders and breeders. Just like the horse of Przewalski, whose morphology is more reminiscent of the pony than the horse.
What uses for a pony and double-pony?
Certain breeds, such as the pony Hackney, are frequently used for harnessing while breeds of double-ponies, such as the Connemara and the French saddle, are mainly ridden. Large, the pony Welsh is versatile, as comfortable in riding as in driving. Able to participate in all equestrian sports, ponies meet in the three Olympic disciplines : show jumping competition, eventing and pure dressage. Some individuals have shone in illustrious competitions at the level international. We can cite Stroller, a 1.43 m tall pony at the withers, a member of the British show jumping team. The animal won the medal silver at the 1968 Summer Olympics by competing unashamedly against horses!