Small stature is the common characteristic of all ponies, but within the shrunken parameters of these diminutive breeds you'll find quite a range of types for many different tastes. Some breeds were molded mostly by Nature; other breeds have been developed by man. Can you identify four pony breeds from their descriptions below?
1. Like full-size Friesians, one of their most influential progenitors, these ponies are known for their good trots, a trait that made them popular driving animals in the late 18th century. Today, they are frequently used as child mounts.
2. Named for the moor of origin, this pony breed is thought to be the oldest pure descendants of Britain's equine inhabitants of approximately 100,000 years ago. The ponies grow unusual two-layered coats that repel water and insulate against bitter weather.
3. When child-labor laws were enacted in 1847, these ponies replaced children in coal mines, pulling tubs of fuel from the depths of the earth. Small and hardy, they can survive on very little feed and often live for three or four decades.
4. This truly American breed was started in Iowa in 1954 with a studbook containing 12 ponies. Today, the registry for these midsize, usually spotted ponies contains more than 40,000 animals. Popular as youth mounts, they perform in a wide range of sports, from dressage to gymkhana.
POP QUIZ ANSWERS
4. Pony of the Americas (POA)
Breed information is from International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds by Bonnie Hendricks.