A equine is a horse, of food of course—except once it’s not. Horses and ponies room members of the very same species, Equus caballus. The creatures re-publishing a many similarities. In general, you have the right to ride them, drive them, and also most importantly, pamper them like spoiled pets. Horses and also ponies alike have shaped person society, letting human being make farming and industrial breakthroughs and helping civilizations wage wars and also fight battles.

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They aren’t rather the same, though. As any barn rat will certainly tell you, the main difference between a horse and a pony is height. Equines are measure up in hands, v one hand equaling 4 inches. An equine that measures 14 hands, 2 inches in ~ the withers (the ridge in between their shoulder blades) is taken into consideration a horse, whereas those that fall listed below this threshold are known as ponies.

"The elevation of an individual steed or pony will always determine even if it is or not the pet is a equine or pony, regardless of the name of their breed or the stereotypical standards," Emily Thomas, museum assistant in ~ the worldwide Museum the the steed in Lexington, Kentucky, tells psychological Floss in an email.


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This 16-hand Morgan gelding is well over the minimum horse height.Courtesy of Kerry Wolfe

But regardless of the strict height distinction, how world refer to certain horses and ponies is a bit fluid. This is whereby the semantics can obtain muddier 보다 a feather paddock. Take it the Arabian Horse, because that instance: according to the Arabian equine Association, the standard height for this elegant breed varieties from 14.1 to 15.1 hands, with some individuals standing under or over the median . This way that some Arabian steeds are pony-sized, even though they’re frequently still referred to as horses. And also then yes sir the Connemara Pony, i m sorry is quiet widely thought about a pony even though that average height clocks anywhere in between 13 and also 15 hands.

Miniature steeds are the most confusing example. The American Miniature equine Association only registers minis the measure 34 inches (the breed is for this reason small, lock measured in inches rather than hands) or below. Yet despite their pint-sized proportions, this tiny steeds are still referred to as horses quite than ponies. This is because, as Horse depicted reports, a breed’s configuration can also influence whether we consider something a equine or a pony. Minis were essentially designed to resemble your much-larger counterparts, just substantially smaller, as if they"d to be shrunk in the evolution dryer.


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Despite the dimension difference, both equines in this picture are generally referred to together horses.Abramova_Kseniya/iStock via Getty images Plus

Tradition can additionally play a function in whether an pet is referred to as a horse or a pony. The Icelandic steed averages a elevation of 13 to 14 hands and also has a heftier build. Yet breeders and also registries still refer to the thick-maned Nordic steeds as horses. It’s claimed this is no only since of the animals" strength and weight-carrying abilities, but likewise because the centuries-old, Viking-era each other has constantly been referred to as a horse. Together Élise Rousseau write in Horses of the World, the concept of a pony in places with shorter breeds no exist in ~ all; equines in these areas, no matter just how small, are simply well-known as horses.

Tradition is likewise why every polo mounts are referred to as ponies. Together The horse Rider"s journal reports, the Manipuri Pony of India was considered the initial polo breed. Yet today, a range of equine breeds are provided in the sport, though all polo mounts—regardless of elevation or type—are still referred to as ponies.

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Basically, nailing the difference in between when to call something a horse or a pony have the right to be together tricky together naming one. One thing a pony is not, however, is a baby horse—that would be a foal. A human may call their steed a pony in the same method the owner of a full-grown dog may refer to your pooch together a puppy, however it’s a hatchet of affection quite than one acknowledgement that age.

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