If you want to produce small equines, breeding horses and ponies can serve as your best bet. This is because both these animals are members of the same species. The difference between a pony and a horse, however, lies mainly in their heights. Horses are generally tall creatures with a height ranging above 14.3 hands. On the other hand, ponies tend to have a height under 14.2 hands and are much smaller in appearance.
Breeding horses and ponies results in adorable offspring that are loved by adults and children, alike. However, the deed can also lead to certain complications during the birth process.
Let’s talk about these complications as well as the do’s and don’ts of breeding horses with ponies, and more.
Can Ponies and Horses Breed?
Ponies and horses can easily breed together if you choose a male pony and a female horse. You can also breed a female pony with a male horse (stallion), but the stallion should not be more than 3 hands larger than the pony. This is because ponies are not capable of birthing a full-size horse foal due to their small build and doing so may risk their life along with the foal’s.
Horse owners might often be tempted to mate their favorite mare with a good looking pony to get the perfect foal for various reasons. But as mentioned, there are certain considerations you have to bear in mind before initiating the process.
So, is a pony a horse? Not exactly, since it differs in size, structure, and the diet required for sustenance.
Nonetheless, mating pony breeds and horses, especially when there is a significant height difference between the two, requires human help.
As a responsible breeder, you need to be aware of the breeding behavior of horses which dictates never to mate a small pony mare with a large stallion. Doing so can result in a foal too large to birth safely, hence, risking the life of both the baby and the mare.
Complications in Crossbreeding of Horses and Ponies
Can a horse give birth to a pony foal? Yes of course! Horses and ponies are often crossbred to produce offspring that have characteristics of both but are rather smaller in size.
Although crossbreeding them is possible, it does not mean that the process is simple or can be easily done by any horse owner.
Danger to the Foal
If the crossbred animals have a significant height difference, the foal might get stuck in the birth canal if it is too large for the mare. Moreover, complications are also likely to occur regardless of parents’ size. While it is certainly possible to mate a pony and a horse, there are certain situations in which you should avoid crossbreeding them as it will otherwise lead to difficulties or may even harm the pony.
Danger to the Pony Mare
It is preferable to choose a small breed stallion if you’re looking to breed it with a pony mare. On the other hand, if you choose a pony stallion, then a larger mare can easily work since she’ll have ample space in the womb for the fetus to develop, and lesser chances of complications during birth.
Before you initiate the process, we recommend consulting a vet.
Important Considerations While Breeding Ponies and Horses
Although both creatures have vast similarities in their genetic structures as well as social and reproductive behaviors, you still need to keep some important considerations in mind when breeding horses and ponies to produce a viable foal.
Here’s what you need to take care of before mating the two equines:
Size is undoubtedly one of the most important concerns when crossbreeding a pony and horse. It is crucial to make sure that the stallion is not too big, or there isn’t too much of a difference in the height of the animals that are mating.
Besides, research suggests that it is preferable to breed a mare horse to a pony stallion for better results in terms of a healthy and well-developed foal, instead of the other way around. This, however, does not mean that a horse stallion could not be mated with a pony mare.
Apart from the animals’ height, you should also consider how their body is physically structured. A mare’s womb determines how big the foal will get, yet there is no guarantee that it won’t grow larger than the intended size. This might result in crushing the foal in the birth canal. Moreover, the mare is also at risk of losing its life during delivery.
On the contrary, too much room in the womb can also be harmful to the offspring. Since foals are known to grow with their legs folded under them inside the womb, a bigger womb would mean that its legs won’t be able to fold properly. This will result in an inappropriately sized hybrid-horse with turned-out feet and other anatomical complications that will adversely impact the health and utility of the foal.
Just like humans, animals too have temperaments that differ from each other. Hence, when crossbreeding a pony and horse, you should make sure to choose equines with desirable traits so that their offspring inherits them accordingly.
It is important to recognize the characteristics of each animal and select wisely as pony and horse crossovers are best for giving children a ride. This means that they need to be friendly to make good companions.
Generally, ponies are stubborn yet intelligent and friendly, too. This makes them incredibly social and fun companions for adults and children, alike. On the other hand, horses are more hot-blooded, energetic and most are docile as well. Thus, to ensure that the foal has a pleasant personality overall, the primary factor to look out for is the temperament of the chosen mates.
Turn to the Professionals
Despite sounding like a simple process, breeding horses and ponies is complicated and is best executed with the help of professionals. Besides, it is better to ask for veterinarian advice if you’re not sure if a particular horse will produce good offspring with a particular pony.
Seeking guidance from a vet will provide you with a better picture of the overall situation and help you determine whether it is even a good idea or not. For instance, there may be certain underlying issues that you might not be aware of and which may lead to unforeseen consequences. Crossbreeding is, therefore, best left to the professionals, especially when you are not sure how safe it is to mate a certain breed of horse and pony together.
FAQs About Ponies Breeding with Horses
In case you’ve still got some unanswered questions regarding the breeding of ponies and horses, let’s go through a list of the most frequently asked questions to further clarify your doubts.
Can a pony give birth to a horse?
A pony mare can be crossbred with a horse stallion to produce a hybrid foal with characteristics of both equines. However, the main thing to keep in mind when crossbreeding the two is their respective sizes. Complications are bound to arise when there is a vast height difference between the mating animals. This can eventually lead to the death of the foal when it passes through the birth canal, and the mare, too, can face major health problems.
Is a pony a breed of horse?
Ponies and horses are the same species and come from the same family tree. But scientifically speaking, a pony is not a horse breed. They are two animals with a lot of similarities but a fair share of differences as well. Besides, no matter how small a horse is, it can never be classified as a pony because it differs in terms of conformation and temperament. Similarly, a pony can never grow up to be the size of an adult horse.
How are ponies and horses different?
Despite their stark similarities, ponies and horses differ in size as well as physical traits. Horses are typically taller than 14.2 hands while ponies tend to be shorter than this height. Moreover, the heights of both these equines vary greatly, depending on their breed.
Other than being shorter and stockier than horses, ponies have a broad barrel chest, thicker mane, coat, neck, and a short head. On the contrary, horses come to have a more eloquent build with long legs and necks. Moreover, their mane and coat are thinner as compared to ponies.
Also, the difference between a pony and a miniature horse lies in their appearance. Both look like small horses but have contrasting physical traits.
Are ponies genetically modified?
Ponies aren’t genetically modified. Just like horses, ponies develop naturally and are mostly found to thrive in harsh environments and cold climates. This is why they have a small but robust stature.
Can horses mate with zebras?
A horse can also mate with zebras. Such crossbreeding usually results in a Mule – which appears to be half horse and half donkey. In short, horses often do reproduce with other members of the equine species.
Breeding horses and ponies is a common practice that results in pony-sized foals that are hardy and have exceptional temperaments. The foal is often bred for its suitability to participate in several equine activities, yet, crossbreeding can get pretty complicated. Therefore, guidance from a professional is essential. Otherwise, the process might endanger the mare as well as the offspring.
To avoid complications, it is essential to keep certain factors in mind. These include the size, conformation, and temperament of the equines involved.