PONYRIDE

PONY RIDE
BY DEBRA CHMELINA
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Information about the Pony

For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers. Horses are 14.2 or taller. The Inernational Federation for Equestrian Sports defines the official cutoff point at 148 centmetres (58.27 in) (just over 14.2 h) without shoes and 149 centimetres (58.66 in) (just over 14.2-1/2 h) with shoes, though allows a margin for competition measurement of up to 150 centimetres (59.1 in) (14.3 h) without shoes, or 151 centimetres (59.45 in) (just under 14.3-1/2 h) with shoes. However, the term "pony" can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed. Furthermore, some horse breeds may have individuals who mature under that height but are still called "horses" and are allowed to compete as horses. In Australia, horses that measure from 14 hands to 15 hands are known as a "galloway", and the pony breed in Australia measure under 14 hands.

People who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a young, immature horse. While foals that will grow up to be horse-sized may be no taller than a pony in their first months of life, their body proportions are very different. A pony can be ridden and put to work, while a foal is too young to be ridden or used as a working animal. Foals, whether they grow up to be horse or pony sized, can be distinguished from adult horses by their extremely long legs and slim bodies. Their heads and eyes also exhibit juvenile characteristics. Furthermore, in most cases, nursing foals will be in very close proximity to a mare who is the mother (dam) of the foal. While a pony may exhibit some neoteny with the wide foreheads and small size, the body proportions of a pony are similar to that of an adult horse.

Domesticated ponies of all breeds originally developed mainly from the need for a working animal that could fulfill specific local draft and transportation needs while surviving in harsh environments. The usefulness of the pony was noted by farmers who observed that a pony could outperform a draft horse on small farms.

By the 20th century, many pony breeds had Arabian and other blood added to make a more refined pony suitable for riding.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony

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