Kids who love horses always dream about their own pony. If you decide to make that dream come true and buy your child a pony, you should consider the best breeds. In this article, we discuss the best pony breeds for kids.
The best pony breeds for kids are the Pony of the Americas, Shetland Pony, Welsh Cob, New Forest Pony, Connemara Pony, Haflinger, Icelandic Horse, Exmoor Pony, Dales Pony, Fell Pony, and Class B Kentucky Mountain Saddle, Faroe Pony, Dartmoor Pony, and the Virginia Highlander.
Looking at pony breeds perfect for kids is an excellent place to start when buying a pony for your child. Let’s find out which pony breeds, sizes, and temperaments are best suited for small children.
Pony Breeds Ideal for Small Kids
Some pony breeds are better for kids. Small ponies are ideal because their size isn’t as intimidating for young riders. The pony breeds that made it onto our list are docile, small, and versatile, making them perfect for kids.
Remember, ponies are individuals. Don’t just choose a pony because of its breed. Finding the right pony for your child can be challenging; it should be a match rather than a particular breed. Take time to find the right pony that is docile, attentive, calm, well-trained, and happy with kids.
Pony of the Americas
The Pony of the Americas is a pony specifically created for kids in America. It is calm, small, and gentle. They make the best first pony for a child; that is why they are on the top of our list.
They are durable, athletic, and hardy, mostly ridden in Western-style disciplines; however, this pony is just as good in English-style riding.
The Pony of the Americas was created from a cross between an Appaloosa-Arabian mare and a Shetland stallion. This mix produced a small colt with a striking coat pattern used to further the breed.
The Pony of the Americas has characteristics of all three breeds. They are muscular with a broad forehead and an Appaloosa coat. They are often called mini-Appaloosa.
The Pony of the Americas was initially intended for Western-style riding, but young riders also compete in driving, endurance, and English-style riding.
The resemblance to an Appaloosa is not a coincidence. This was the intended outcome of the founder to create miniature versions of the Appaloosa.
The pony of the America’s studbook is open to other small crosses if they meet the physical requirements for this breed. In 1954 the breed became official and since demonstrated exponential growth. The Pony of the Americas stands 11 to 14 hands high and weighs 450 to 950 pounds.
Shetland Ponies are well-known and loved as great ponies for kids because of their small size. Shetland ponies are highly intelligent and strong.
Sometimes a Shetland can be notoriously stubborn and too smart for their own good. They require proper training from a trainer before being considered a good child’s pony. An obedient Shetland pony is worth its weight in gold.
Shetlands sometimes require adult supervision as they could sometimes be willfully ignoring commands from indecisive inexperienced riders.
However, Shetland ponies are famous for kids because of their small size and fun temperaments and are one of the most loved pony breeds. Shetlands ponies are often trained to be guide ponies.
Shetland Ponies are available in a wide variety of coat colors except spotted. They usually are around 10 hands high with a compact body with short legs, a thick tail, and a mane. Shetlands tend to pick up weight quickly, so you must not overfeed them.
They are initially from the Scottish Shetland Isles thousands of years ago but were exported to the U.S. in the 1880s. Shetland ponies can be crossed with other pony breeds to produce different sizes. A Shetland pony can also be trained to pull a small cart. Most Shetland ponies live over 30 years. They are the perfect child’s pony when adequately trained.
Welsh Cob Pony
A Welsh Cob Pony is gentle, dependable, intelligent, athletic, and hardy. Welsh Cob ponies have several body types, from round and wide to athletic and slim. These are great qualities for a pony to have as a child’s pony, and because of their mixed breed status, they come in a wide variety of colors.
Welsh cobs are famous in the show ring and for driving and pleasure riding, and they make perfect children’s ponies. Their gentle temperament is one of the reasons they are so popular as a first pony for a child.
The all-around Welsh Pony is gentle and packs stamina, suitable for any activity or riding discipline. Welsh Ponies typically have large eyes, refined heads, and strong hindquarters, stand around 11 hands high and weigh approximately 400 pounds.
New Forest Pony
New Forest ponies are a mixed breed that originates from the U.K. They are friendly, hardy, gentle, and intelligent. They are eager to please, which makes them easy to train.
New Forest Ponies are ideal for kids due to their narrow backs and gentle temperament. They are perfect as a child’s first pony. They are often seen at shows competing in gymkhana and driving disciplines.
The New Forest Pony is between 12 and 14.2 hands high, the perfect height for a child. New Forest ponies come in several colors like chestnut, grey, and bay.
The New Forest pony’s ancestors lived in England for thousands of years. Today feral herds still freely live and roam in the New Forest in Hampshire.
New Forest ponies weigh around 700 pounds and feature a compact body with a short back and neck and a long head.
Connemara ponies are known for their gentle, calm temperaments and are popular pony for kids. They have muscular bodies with lots of stamina. They are perfect kid’s ponies.
Connemara ponies are easy to handle for kids who want to compete in various disciplines like show jumping, gymkhana, dressage, or driving.
Once only found in Ireland, they are now seen worldwide. Connemara ponies have broad heads, arched necks, relatively short legs, and strong backs. Their color patterns are varied, and they stand around 12 to 14 hands high.
Haflingers are incredibly versatile, gentle, friendly, and caring horses, a perfect all-around pony for kids.
Therapeutic and horse-riding schools also prefer Halfinger’s calm, gentle nature, and their naturally smooth gaits are perfect for kids and disabled riders.
Haflingers are traditionally chestnut with a golden tail and mane and generally stand between 13 to 15 hands high.
Haflingers are compact and loved for their calm, easy temperament. Their beautiful golden manes and tails make them stand out from other ponies. They are an excellent choice as a kids’ pony. The Haflinger is a small but strong pony that loves exploring trails.
The Icelandic Pony
Icelandic ponies are calm, intelligent, easy to handle, agile, and energetic. They are perfect as a child’s pony. This hardy and healthy breed with remarkable weight-carrying capacity are ideal for larger children.
The Icelandic pony is often used at riding schools because of its calm temperament. They usually stand 13 to 14 hands high; their coat colors are varied. The Icelandic pony is the national and only horse breed of Iceland.
Thousands of years of natural selection on the harsh Icelandic climate shaped this pony into what it is known for today.
Icelandic ponies have an extra gait called the tölt, which is very comfortable to ride, making them perfect for novice riders and children.
Exmoor ponies are stocky, solid and short, deep chests and large girths perfect for kids. Known for their endurance and hardiness, Exmoor ponies are Britain’s oldest breed, dating to around 50,000 BC. Their gentle, trustworthy, hardworking temperaments make them versatile, adaptable, and robust.
Exmoor ponies were bred initially as work ponies on farms in the U.K. This is a versatile breed from being ridden shepherding, harrowing, plowing, and ferrying feed to stock.
Today, their compact build makes them excellent children’s ponies with enough stamina and agility to tackle any riding discipline. Exmoor ponies usually stand 11 to 13 hands high and are mostly brown, dun, or bay in color.
A Dales pony is a large and hardy pony with great stamina and strength, primarily black and sometimes grey. Dales’ ponies have gentle, calm, intelligent, and courageous temperaments. The combination of good conformation with energy and ability makes the dales pony excellent for kids. At 14 hands high, they are just the perfect size for young kids.
Dale ponies have a great walk and lots of stamina, determination, and sure-footedness to keep going long distances. This trait makes them excellent ponies for trekking, trails, or long-distance rides. They are easy to train and willing to learn anything. They make fantastic jumpers that can compete in cross country and other disciplines.
The Dales Pony has a great temperament and sensible nature, perfect when riding in traffic because they do not spook easily. The qualities of a Dales pony make them the first choice as a kid’s pony,
The Fell pony is an old mountain breed that lived in the hills of Cumbria. Fell ponies stand around 14 hands high, the perfect size for a child. Fell ponies are well-balanced and sturdy with a long stride.
Fell ponies are exceptionally alert with big bright eyes, large nostrils, and tiny ears, and their bodies are well-muscled with hard hooves and strong legs. Fell ponies are known for their silky straight hair, feathers around the fetlock, and long flowing tail and mane.
They are typically black, brown, and bay with a little white on the forehead. Fell ponies are small at 12 hands high.
Class B Kentucky Mountain Saddle Pony
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a new breed and closely related to the Tennessee Walking horse. Kentucky Mountain ponies are calm, gentle, friendly, and intelligent. They are calm enough for children and novice horse-riders. The smooth gaits of the Kentucky Mountain pony make them perfect for disabled persons to ride.
The colors of the Kentucky Mountain pony are palomino, bay, gray, cremello, roan, white, chestnut, black, grullo, dun, buckskin, and brown. Class B Kentucky Saddle ponies stand 11 to 14.1 hands high. Kentucky Mountain Saddle ponies are often referred to as kid’s pony because they are intelligent and gentle enough to care for inexperienced young kids.
Faroe ponies are small intelligent, and gentle, 11 to 12 hands high, and weigh 550 to 600 pounds. They are ideal as a child’s pony.
Faroe ponies are technically pony due to their height, but in the Faroe Islands, they are called horses because of their extraordinary strength. The lineage of the Faroe ponies is one of the oldest and purest equine breeds in the world.
Because Faroe ponies are secluded on the Faroe Islands, their genetics have not been altered or influenced by other breeds. Faroe ponies are typically black, chestnut, speckled, or brown.
Dartmoor ponies are versatile, friendly, calm, trustworthy, and have lots of stamina. Dartmoor ponies are typically single-colored, with long flowing tails and manes. Dartmoor recognized colors are black, brown, black, chestnut, grey, bay, and roan.
They are usually around 12 hands high. Dartmoor ponies are a hardy breed that can withstand colder climates easily.
Dartmoor ponies have smaller heads and are generally considered a child’s pony. They are friendly and faithful ponies perfect for young riders.
Their exceptional temperament has long been known perfect for children. They can make excellent companions, provide endless fun and compete in many disciplines.
The Virginia Highlander is another new breed first developed in 1960. The Virginia Highlander pony is famous for its calm, gentle nature, smooth gaits, and perfect conformation ideal as a child’s first pony. They are primarily found in the Southern and Eastern parts of the U.S.
They have a solid, muscled, well-proportioned body with a small head, wide-set eyes, short back, hard hooves, and strong legs. Virginia Highland ponies are often found in black, chestnut, roan, and grey colors. They are typically 13 to 14 hands high and weigh around 800 pounds.
Ponies come in small packages but always with lots of personalities. Finding the best pony for your kid can be daunting. Do some research before you choose. The best ponies for kids that made it onto our list are the Shetland, Welsh Cob, Connemara, Fell Pony, and Pony of the Americas.
When looking for the best pony for your kid, the breeds we listed above have earned their place in the horse world.