13 things you need to know before you move from ponies onto horses

  • It can be notoriously difficult to make the transition from ponies to horses – but if your legs (or your child’s) are practically touching the ground, or you want to compete seriously, you might be wondering if the time has come to kiss little Snowy goodbye and look for a larger steed. Here’s what you need to know to make that transition go as smoothly as possible.

    1. There’s no rush

    Make sure that you really want to move up to horses. If you’re happy, and the pony isn’t actually being squashed flat, then why not just enjoy each other’s company for as long as you can?

    2. Don’t be tempted to get a ‘project’ as your first horse

    Yes, you’ve learnt a lot from your pony – but does this mean you’re experienced enough to bring on a four-year old Warmblood with attitude?

    3. ‘A pony will get you out of trouble, a horse will get you into it,’ as they say

    Ponies ping over jumps and often find that elusive ‘fifth leg’ to take off or land on a dodgy stride. Try the same thing on a horse and chances are you’ll find yourself exiting via the front door.

    Continued below…

    4. Horses take more riding than ponies

    Ponies will do the thinking for you, horses won’t. Although the pony brain can be both a blessing and a curse…

    5. You’re going to have to start counting strides between jumps and all that malarkey

    No more pointing and shooting.

    6. Gates!

    So easy on ponies, you can jump off and on if need be. Not quite so easy on a larger steed.

    7. Ditto coming off

    The higher up you are, the further you’ve got to fall. But you knew that.

    8. Get ready for big muscles

    It can be a challenge holding a big-moving 16.2hh between hand and leg – forewarned is forearmed.

    9. If you’re the one paying the feed bill, you’re about to get a bit of a shock

    Most ponies can live off thin air. The same can’t be said for their bigger, bulkier brethren.

    10. You can’t get as many funky rugs and bright-coloured accessories for horses as you can for ponies

    This is a travesty and horse stuff manufacturers need to address it immediately.

    11. On the plus side…

    …horses aren’t so prone to ballooning just at the sight of grass, and can be easier to manage.

    12. They’re often a lot more chilled out and straightforward than ponies

    They don’t have that devious pony brain, after all.

    13. You might not be dumped on the floor quite so often

    (But it’ll be from a greater height when you are.)

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