Many ‘Adult Amateurs’ are discovering the joys of ponies. The United States Dressage Federation has taken note. There was an article published in USDF Connection (Pony Power) regarding this development!
A junior rider came to meet the Fancy Pony. She was immediately smitten and made remarks like, “She is the perfect size for me!”
She cantered the Fancy Pony around the arena and said, “She’s going really fast!”
Except she wasn’t so much going fast as she was taking long, slow canter strides…
She would not be the first (or last) rider to comment about how big the Fancy Pony moves. So why has it taken so long for Sport Ponies to catch on?
Big movement (but easier to sit than the huge warmbloods), clos(er) to the ground, hardy and sound, and known for longevity… What’s not to love?
How I came to ride a pony:
A friend heard I was looking for a horse to start training up for the inevitable day that I would have to retire the Old Man from eventing. Nevermind that the original plan had me eventing him at least another 2 years, giving me time to train said ‘new ride’ to the same level! She asked me, “What are you looking for in your ideal eventing horse?” I listed off all sorts of things: bravery, confidence, soundness, jumping ability… She came back with, “You didn’t say anything about size or breed… I have this Arabian mare that needs a job…”
I wasn’t looking for a horse that would immediately go Advanced. I was looking for something that might confidently go Novice, maybe work up to Training. Teddy O’Connor was 14.3hh and went all the way to the top! That doesn’t mean I expect every small horse to be that athletic and talented, but I didn’t consider size to be a limiting factor for what **I** wanted to do.
My dressage potential is unlimited. Size is not a factor. My jumping height might be limited, sure. My pony probably will not go Grand Prix Jumpers. But we can still learn our sport over smaller fences. You don’t need to be jumping 5’ (or even 3’) to learn straight lines, bending lines, adjustability between jumps, galloping cross-country, correct and confident combinations…
I don’t need my Advanced level eventing horse today. I’ll take my solid BN/Novice horse and keep learning the ropes. We might even get to try Training one day! We can still practice the big concepts (like skinnies and corners) over smaller obstacles. The way you ride it doesn’t change just because the fence is bigger! When I’m ready to go advanced, THEN I can look for my Advanced horse!
Or Pony! I’m not ruling out the pony!