How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Pony?
Ponies are popular attractions at carnivals, birthday parties, petting zoos, and even libraries and city parks. They are used as therapy animals, rescue ambassadors, and as companions for children, adults, and other animals. Ponies have a magical quality about them, and at one time or another, most of us have dreamed of having a pony of our own. It’s never too late to make that dream come true!
How much does a pony cost in 2023? Depending on what you are looking for, you can find a trained riding pony for around $3,000. If you are looking for a companion only and do not need the pony to ride or drive, you can often find one for as little as $200. The term “pony” is a large umbrella, and there are a lot of different breeds and horses that fall in this category.
If you haven’t been in the horse world long, you may not know the difference between a miniature horse and a pony. In this article, I’m going to count them as one and the same and assume that readers are looking for a smaller equine friend either as a companion or as a mount for their children. To learn more about buying a pony, read on!
Average Cost Of A Pony
The average purchase price of a pony can vary greatly. You can find miniature horses or shetland ponies at many rescues with an adoption fee as low as $200. On the other end of that, there are large ponies (14+ hh) that can be shown competitively and ridden by small adults. Depending on the breeding and the training, these ponies can cost well into the five figures.
The average cost of a pony is between $2,000 and $8,000; that said, it is very easy to find a small pony for under $1,000. If you are looking for a companion or a senior pony and do not need one that can be ridden or driven, you can expect to pay three figures.
In the online ads in my own hometown, I quickly found five different ponies for sale:
- The most expensive was a 13-year-old Shetland that was a proven show-quality driving pony, and the asking price was $7,500. While that asking price is higher than the average for a pony, it’s reasonable when you compare it to the asking price of the typical showhorse.
- The least expensive pony out of the five was a halter-broke, purebred Hackney yearling. He would mature to approximately 13 hh, and his asking price was $1,800.
- The three ponies in the middle all had asking prices of between $3,000 and $3,400: a broke and healthy 12.3 hh gelding that was eight years old, a 17-year-old, 12.2 hh Welsh/Cob mix that was broke but in need of a tune-up, and a 2-year-old healthy and beautiful Welsh stallion that needed finishing.
The smaller the pony, the more likely you will be able to find them for cheaper. While these advertisements were specific to my location, the prices are on par with the hundreds of ponies on the market across the country.
How Much Does A Miniature Horse Cost?
There are many Miniature Horses in horse rescues waiting to be adopted. The average adoption fee for these horses is $500. A Very well-trained and well-bred Miniature Horse costs around $3,000. Unless you plan on breeding Miniatures yourself or competing in Miniature-specific shows, like in-hand and driving, you can find a nice Miniature Horse for around $1,500.
Miniature Horses are similar to ponies in that they are smaller than riding horses, though there are a few distinctions that place them into their own unique category. The term “Miniature Horse” encompasses a small handful of breeds, two of the most common being the American Miniature Horse and the Falabella from Argentina. Here are some of the differences between Miniature Horses and ponies:
- Miniature Horses are, on average, smaller than ponies. A typical pony will measure between 11 and 14 hands. Miniature Horses average closer to the equivalent of 8 to 9 hands. We say “equivalent” because…
- Miniature Horses are measured in inches, not in hands. A Mini will typically stand around 34 inches at the withers.
- Miniature Horses are proportionately similar to larger riding horses, while ponies are generally thicker and stockier than their larger friends.
Whether a pony or a Miniature Horse would be the right choice for you will depend on what you desire to do with your small horse. Both Miniature Horses and ponies can pull carts, so if you would like to work on driving, you may find either type of horse suitable. If you would like a horse for your child to ride, however, you would be wise to look for a pony. Miniature Horses only weigh a couple of hundred pounds, so even very young children will quickly outgrow a true Mini.
Why Are Ponies So Inexpensive?
The average asking price of a pony is relatively cheap when compared to other horses. This is for a few reasons:
There are a lot of ponies on the market. A “pony” is not a specific breed; there are over a hundred different pony breeds around the world that could be for sale. You’re going to find a lot more individuals under this umbrella when you search for available ponies than if you were searching for available Arabians or Tennessee Walking Horses.
Adults cannot ride most ponies. Most people want a horse they can ride; since ponies are smaller and weigh less than larger horses, they cannot carry as much weight on their backs. Most ponies can only be ridden by children or small adults. I am a petite small adult who can easily ride my 13.1 hh POA gelding; however, if my 6-ft tall husband tried to ride him, he wouldn’t be able to carry him around for long. Smaller ponies, unless having a particular stocky and muscular build, would not be able to accept an adult rider.
Kids love ponies – but kids grow up. Many young equestrians learn to ride on a pony. It makes sense to teach a child to learn to ride on a horse that is proportionate in size to them. Ponies are also less intimidating than taller horses. One thing all kids have in common, though, is that they grow up. These children either graduate to a larger horse to accommodate their growing needs, or they lose interest in horsemanship altogether. Horses can live for over three decades, and it can be costly to feed and maintain them, especially when your now-teenager has adopted a larger riding partner. These ponies regularly flood the market looking for a new pint-sized owner.
Aside from the sheer number of ponies circulating through the market, the reason ponies are less expensive than their larger friends really comes down to their size limitations.
The Benefits Of Having A Pony
While ponies are understandably limited in how much weight they can carry, there are several benefits to having a pony. The first benefit is that they are much less intimidating to a child or smaller adult. Another benefit is that they are typically less expensive to keep. A pony that is half the weight of a standard horse will require half the feed. This can amount to hundreds of dollars per month and makes ponies attractive as companions for larger horses.
What Is A Pony?
Ponies are distinguished from other horses by their height. The Federation for Equestrian Sports states that “Ponies’ regulatory height at the withers must not exceed: [14.2 hands high] without shoes…” A horse that is 14.2 hh or shorter is considered a pony; this applies to purebred ponies and grade horses of shorter stature.
There are approximately 159 different pony breeds around the world. Some breeds, like the Welsh Pony and the Shetland, are more common and easier to find than others. The most popular pony breeds in the United States include the Welsh, the Shetland, and the Pony of the Americas (POA). In addition to the many purebred ponies that can be found, there is also a wealth of mixed-breed ponies on the market. Most pony breeds were developed in colder, Northern climates and are commonly stocky in build with thick, long manes and tails. Ponies are generally easy keepers and have long lifespans.
Purchasing A Pony In 2023
Whether a pony is suitable for your needs will depend on what you are looking to accomplish with your new equine friend. One of the advantages of getting a pony is the typically affordable purchase price. Healthy, sound ponies are continuously entering the market simply because their young riders have outgrown them, and they still have plenty to offer another family. The possibility of owning a pony is actually quite attainable for even the most budget-conscious equestrian.
The Quarter Horse is a docile breed that you can find in both horse and pony sizes. Another great thing about these horses is that you can find them at reasonable prices! To learn more about the cost of Quarter Horses, visit my article How Much Does a Quarter Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide.