THEaskThey are smallhorseswhich do not reach 150 cm in height (or 148 cm without hooves). It was the "International Federation of Equestrian Sports" that established this limit. In any case, in common parlance, the term "pony»Is used to flag anyhorsesmall in size regardless of breed.
Theponyit is less demanding than a horse, however, if you are considering adopting one, be aware that maintaining it still requires commitment.
From an evolutionary point of view, iponythey are simply notsmall horses! According to some theories, iponyhave evolved sincewild horse(speciesEquus ferus).
Ponies and horses
THEponythey have developed to adapt to a cold natural environment devoid of food sources like different habitats typical of Northern Europe. The origin of theponybut several theories connect it to the north of our continent.
Studies conducted on mitochondrial DNA indicate that a large number ofwild horsescontributed to the phylogeny of modern breeds ofponycurrently widespread. If studies affirm this, why can't we still express certainties about the origin of the pony? Because studies on y-DNA (transmitted on the male line) suggest that perhaps there was a single progenitor to allpony breedscurrently in circulation.
So onorigins of the Ponythere is still a mystery. We do not know if there was an ancestral, pure pony ... or if it is an evolutionary adaptation of the wild horse (speciesEquus ferus). Wild horses were already present in Paleolithic caves (30,000 BC). In those days, horses were probably hunted for their meat. There is still no certainty as to when the horses began to bedomesticated(perhaps in 3500 BC) therefore it is impossible to trace the origin of the pony by reconstructing the history of the horse.
Already before 1900 manypony breedsthey were bred, selected and destined for different equestrian activities.
To thicken the plot, today, next topony breedsThere are "more traditional" crosses between ponies and horsesrecently introduced. Among these crossings, the most famous is theFalabella, a real miniature horse since the proportions between the different parts of the body are more similar to those of ahorsethan to those of apony.
Generally speaking, we can say that there are three types of ponies:
- Traditional ponies
Tow, work and saddle pony
- Pet and more ornamental ponies
Often these are crosses between ponies and horses with fertile offspring and selections increasingly attentive to the physical characteristics of the animal.
- Sport ponies
Often these are selections born from crosses with jumping or racing horses. Also in this case the selections have gradually gone to search for certain physical characteristics.
What the pony eats: nutrition
The pony feeds on dry forage. Although pony feeds exist on the market, it is possible to give feed for recreational horses or resting horses. To the feed, it will also be necessary to integrate meadow hay consisting of different forage species. On the market there is hay in parallelepiped bales, very easy to manage.
Theponyit is often associated with children and for this reason mistakes can be made in feeding. Better to avoid giving biscuits, sugars or chocolate ... if you really want to reward the little oneponyit is possible to give apples, fennel or carrots.
You can keep a pony in the garden
The costs are lower but the advice is more or less the same as seen in the guide article on howraise a horse. To hold apony in the gardenyou should set up covered accommodation and a dedicated area for grazing.
The covered box serves as a shelter for thepony, the access door must be at least 150 cm wide, with washable walls and flooring. If you choose wood, use boards that are at least 6 cm thick. In the box, a manger, a drinking trough and an abundant litter consisting of shavings or straw must not be missing.
Some pony breedsthey can be considered as demanding as the most common pets. Let's talk about social needs: Many pony breeds suffer from loneliness and should be best bred in pairs. Thepony characterit varies from breed to breed and for this reason it is important to ask the breeder for advice.
What should not be missing in the garden is space: even just 200 square meters is enough to raise a pony.
For more information, we recommend the dedicated article: "Pony Breeds"