Horses and ponies differ in conformation and type. Technically, ponies cannot exceed 14.2hh in height to be officially considered a pony. Ponies have many different physical characteristics that differentiate them from horses, including thicker manes and tails, proportionally shorter legs, thicker necks, and shorter heads. There are many different breeds of ponies, such as Hackney ponies, Connemara ponies, and Welsh ponies.
I’d like to add to that that horses of typical “horse” (not pony) breeds can technically be ponies if they are under the 14.2h. So there are 2 ways that an…equine might be labeled a pony:
-if it was a breed that doesn’t commonly exceed 14.2 it is called a pony (Hackney, Shetland, etc)
-if it’s a short horse. you know, like tom cruise.
Generally, there is no major difference between ponies and horses. But in the strict sense of it, ponies are usually race horses and sometimes used to refer to small breeds of horses.
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