Ponies are a great choice for children and adults of any height. They require less food than horses and are sturdy enough to be ridden without shoes. They also tend to be more affordable to own and care for. They are also more accustomed to living barefoot than horses and are more likely to grow tough hooves that can be left unshod.
The easiest way to determine a horse or pony’s height is to use a proper measuring stick. These sticks are typically made of wood or aluminum and have a spirit level built into the base to ensure it is set up correctly. The extending arm is then brought down gently until it touches the highest point on the withers and reads off the measurement in hands (hh) or inches or centimetres as appropriate.
In terms of height, all equine breeds progress at a similar rate as their skeletal growth plates continue to fuse. However, the smaller breeds usually finish this process earlier than the larger ones. For example, most small riding ponies will reach their full height by the time they are five and a half years old.
Ponies and horses share the same ancestry and are members of the same species, Equus caballus, but there are some differences that distinguish them. The biggest difference is size. Ponies are defined as being under 14.2 hands while a horse is any equine taller than that. Ponies also have thicker manes, tails, and coats than horses do.
Despite these differences, the two animals can be very similar in other ways. They can have similar personalities, habits, and behaviours. They can also be extremely friendly towards humans. They both can be used as workhorses, as well as companions. Ponies are particularly good for beginners as they tend to have a slower pace than horses.
The best way to measure the height of a horse or pony is to use a proper measuring stick that is marked in hand intervals. This will allow you to convert from either inches or centimetres and is the most accurate method available. Alternatively, you can use a plumb line. This can be made with a piece of twine or string and is essentially a straight rod that you place against the top of the withers and then measure from there to the ground. This method is not as accurate, but can still give you a very close estimate. You can also use a tape measure but this is not recommended as the accuracy isn’t consistent enough to be reliable. Other methods such as estimating body weight using the girth circumference or the shoulder-to-ischium measurement are not as accurate.