A riding pony basically is a show pony that is built more like a horse than a traditional pony. The proportions of a riding pony are more evenly distributed than those of the traditional pony, leading to an elegant-looking, graceful animal. The three classifications of riding pony for competition are show pony, show hunter and working hunter.
The head and the ears of a riding pony are small, but they are proportionate to its head. The size of a riding pony ranges from 12.2 hands to 14.2 hands high. These compact animals have a narrow front and sloping shoulders. They possess tough feet and legs that are strong.
Many of the riding ponies are decedents of Arabian and thoroughbred horses. First bred in the United Kingdom, the ponies were formed into a smaller animal with grace and elegance, and they could be seen in many show rings. Riding ponies gained in popularity and drew much attention from all levels of equestrians, from the wealthy to those in the middle class. This growth created an excitement among equestrians around the world for an animal that held great elegance and pride.
The riding pony is considered to be an excellent driving pony. It is able to help herd small animals such as sheep. In addition, this pony is a favorite among polo players.
As popular as the riding pony is in the ring as a show pony, it also is extremely popular with families, especially children. The show pony is a petite, gentle animal, which allows for excellent riding by people of all ages. Many people choose this pony as the family riding pet because of the demeanor of the animal. The ponies have a calm presence and a level of patience, and those qualities make them ideal for families with small children.