Ponies are not just small horses, but their small size is a defining feature. They are usually under 14.2 hands (4.73 feet) tall, as measured to their withers (the place where their neck and back meet), and weigh between 300-800 lbs.
Overall, ponies are stockier than larger horses, with shorter legs, thicker necks, wider barrels, and shorter, broader heads. They also tend to have thicker manes, tails, and coats.
Ponies tend to be hardier than larger horses. It is widely believed that they evolved their stocky build as an adaptation to living in the challenging conditions of moors and fields, with limited food and harsh weather.
There are over 200 different pony breeds! One of the best known breeds is the Shetland pony from Scotland--a very strong, long-haired pony.
Pound for pound, ponies are actually stronger than standard size horses! Adult ponies can haul 20% of their own weight.
Like all Equids, ponies have sensitive digestive systems. They are grazers and eat lots of grass. If they are given diets too rich or high in sugar, they will develop health problems.
Healthy ponies can live very long lives---well into their 30s and even up to 40 years old!
They are super-smart, trustworthy, and friendly animals with stellar memories! Some ponies have a reputation for being a bit stubborn or bold, which not only shows how intelligent they are, but how each has his own personality.
Like all horses, ponies can sleep standing up or lying down!
Many ponies, like the popular Welsh pony, are used to teach riding lessons, pull carts and carriages, or work around the farm. At Unity, our ponies are here to just be--to enjoy the sunshine and each other's company, and to live out the rest of their lives in their forever home.