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  1. #1

    Default Do you prefer driving a horse or pony(mini)?

    Just wondering how much of a difference height makes and what the ideal height for a driving animal is. I would assume that a mini is too little for most recreational driving but a 14.2 horse is too much power? What would be the main driving difference between a lightweight 12h pony and 14 hand stout horse if their gaits are similar?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2004
    Location
    New Zealand
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    1,170

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    I really enjoy driving my little pony (10:2ish HH) because I can do everything from one side - don't have to walk around to the other side. He's also spunky and likes to go fast, rock solid in traffic and loves ice cream and other treats.

    I have a ball driving my 13 hh pony because I am constantly amazed at how far he's come from the feral colt that was delivered to me nearly 2 years ago compared with the laid back, placid gelding I have now. He's also got more power (I can really feel it) but is much more slothful than the little pony.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
    Location
    Windsor SC till Aug
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    I loved my 38" mini. I did EVERYTHING with him. He was a little work-a-holic, and i also loved that he was easy to toss in the trailer and go wherever i wanted to. But i drive in a lot of sand. He would wear out quick at some locations, and i was limited to having only my son as a passenger, so my husband would get left out quite a bit to the point that he rarely came to the barn with me.

    Starting my 14h welsh cob a couple years ago was "scary" in that i knew the power she had behind her. Granted, a welsh cob is not your average 14h pony in terms of strides and sheer power they can suddenly turn on.

    I feel much less intimidated by my 13h sec B welsh mare. She's still easy to get set up, though i cant just reach over her back when i put her to the cart like i could my mini, i do miss that easyness... And i know i'll be able to have an adult passenger with her, which will be nice on occasion... She's only been hitched a couple times now, but i'm much more at ease with her than i am my 14h mare.

    For "me" i think my ideal driving pony would be 12h. As i could probably still reach over the back at least to slip the shaft in the tug, and still have the muscle to get through the sand, and have a passenger now and then. 12h is really a great size. They dont eat much, take up much space, or easily intimidate a newbie with huge movement and it's still enough size that i could hop on and ride it if i wanted, granted, i'm only 5'3.

    I do think the minis have a really strong work ethic though, not that you wont find that in other ponies, but it seems less minis have that lazy pony attitude than you'll find in larger numbers of ponies.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,751

    Cool I prefer a "HOT" HACKNEY PONY slightly over a "HOT" ASB ~ LOVE TO DRIVE BOTH ~

    My first choice is a 'hot' hackney pony ``` but just slightly over a hot' ASB ~

    Enjoy driving both types daily ~ super fun !

    But honestly I prefer a "hot" drive !!!! NO ! "WALK IN THE PARK FOR US "!

    It's all about ANIMATION & EXPRESSION !~
    Last edited by Zu Zu; Apr. 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM.
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2004
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
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    1,909

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    Horse!

    I guess I have driven horses so long that ponies seem so different to me. And minis downright odd!

    The horses I drive are very forward Warmbloods in the 16-16.2H range.

    Of course I always drive trucks and get really uncomfortable driving in a little car too!!

    I think it's all what you are used to and what you want to do with them. No "walk in the park" for me either.
    Kanoe Godby
    www.dyrkgodby.com
    See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
    Location
    PNW
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    191

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    I like that the mini's cart is very easy to haul - light and loading/unloading is much easier than the pony cart. I don't take the pony places simply because it is a lot of work to get the cart in and out of the pickup bed. If you are driving from your house (no hauling) and taking a passenger, I'd go with a pony.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 27, 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,112

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    Well, I'm very fond of my Haflingers (they're 13.3 and 14 hands) but if I should outlive them I'm pretty sure I'd get myself a pair of minis and a nice four-wheeler to drive them to. I would be in my dotage by then (there's a fun word ) and I think handling something much smaller as well as their much smaller equipment would be a good thing at that stage of my life.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    7,022

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    I prefer smaller ponies. Driving horses intimidates me a little, but I've always felt very comfortable driving ponies.
    The more perfect our happiness,
    the more nagging and wretched
    do our unsolved problems seem.
    ~ Gordon Grand



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
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    4,042

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    Fun question, I would have to say 14-15.2h, quick legged and powerful with a nice long stride but adjustable too. Though I did drive a 13h morgan mare that was a hoot, she had a huge stride.

    I don't need to go everywhere at warp speed, and animation doesn't top my list, but I like to feel like I'm really moving, even at a walk and I like a touchy gas pedal. I like a big ground covering powerful walk. I do not like plunking along at any gait. I'm rather dismayed how quickly my hot headed morgan has learned to become a lazy bones! I have to keep after him to have a nice forward walk.

    I have to say I am constantly impressed with where my 14.3h can fit though, and our carriage and gear. Smaller everything is very handy in numerous ways.

    I'd like to drive the power of a larger sport horse, but not deal with the larger carriage and harness, etc. Goodness grooming my friend's perch is like waxing a van.

    I don't know if I could ever do the mini thing, but a hyperbike and maybe something 11ish hands and really forward and athletic looks like a blast

    I would LOVE to fly like this one day, takes my breath away:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrTfG...ure=plpp_video
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present. It steals your joy and keeps you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    120

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    I drive my 36.75 min everywhere. He is a blast! Though I can't haul a passenger unless on the flat I figure it is just as if I was riding. Easier for me to load the mini and the cart in the trailer. Have driven a couple big horses too, I prefer the minis or a smaller pony (41 inches).



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2010
    Posts
    2,599

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    Horses.

    I did minis at a clinic - it felt like driving or longlining a dog. Just way too little.

    However the only time like I ever felt like I was going to *die* behind a horse was when I being carted around by a 7 yr Amish kid driving his mini. At a flat out run. In a top heavy 4 wheel vehicle. Down a dirt lane. White knuckles all the way.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2012
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    19

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    It really depends on what I am doing. I've had minis that have taught me a lot about driving. They surely have their purpose. For tours, I perfer huge quiet drafts. For weddings I like horse, they look fancier than drafts. For an outting on a sunday, I perfer a pair ponies (would try a 4-up but don't have the harness). But for CDEs, I want horses.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2012
    Location
    Southern, NJ
    Posts
    46

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    Love my pony! I have driven everything from large drafts, dutch warmbloods and all the way down to minis... Defintely wouldn't trade my 12.2hh crossbred gelding for anything! He is fun, forward, great work ethic... his "stuff" i.e. cart and harness are still easy to haul around and he doesn't eat much! (Although he happens to be high maintanence in other ways, he has bad allergies)
    I also have a 13.2 Welsh/TB cross, still a nice size but a much more athletic pony!
    Liek the minis and have a blast driving my students but I personally prefer the 12-13hh range!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2006
    Location
    NW Oregon
    Posts
    552

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    I LOVE my big mini/small pony (38 inches measured as a mini at the last mane hair, close to 40 inches at the top of his withers).

    He is small enough to harness easily and transport in our converted cargo van, yet he has the power to haul my husband and me for hours on the trails or at the beach.

    Driving Mingus is like driving a little sports car. Not a lot of room for passengers, but power to burn. He loves driving and is set on go. If he were any more fun, it would be illegal!

    Besides, if he were much bigger, we couldn't use our HyperBike, which is something I couldn't do without!
    They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

    Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
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    7,380

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    Horses. Leggy Sporthorse types, with good brains. I like getting places in a timely manner, not racing, but with a natural big stride. I LOVE their willingness, they are not usually trying to do the thinking FOR you, like a lot of ponies. They are happy to go where aimed, down the road, across the field, thru a hazard, thru the water crossings. They have the power to move the load behind, regardless of the conditions. They are sensitive in response, athletic, without being over reactive to reins, situations we take them into, or if we mess up something. Forgiving, but that might be breeding, rather than just being horses.

    I had a Welsh mix pony for a number of years as a kid. She rode and drove. She was fun, but it was still "back in the old days" driving, she was transport here to there. No THOUGHT of driving in the field!! And even with her good gaits, we took a fair amount of time to get there. ALWAYS trying to anticipate what we were doing to "help". Smart as anything, not reactive, just "lesser" powered than the horses.

    We also had a Pair of smaller horses, 14.2H-14.3H, who were big gaited, good try to them in everything. No quit to them. They were also fun, had lots of enjoyable times using them. Just not what husband thought was enough horse for playing CDE at the upper levels. They were our "learner Pair" who put up with a lot, very reliable in tight situations.

    Still like the big horses best. We have the equipment to move the horses and vehicles, they load easily. You can give friends a ride, not worry about overloading the animals with weight, go farther distances, not worry about animals being exhausted or getting in after dark. It always depends on how much work you want to do, to go play.

    I expect when we get too old for our tall horses, shoulders are shot so we can't lift harness up high, we may get some Hackney ponies. They will be like sports cars! Help us keep the old brains and reflexes sharp!!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2011
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    387

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    Minis are small, but they can be powerful, quick, and a whole lot of fun. A mini is perfectly capable of pulling 2 adults.

    I've got one in every size- a 9 hand mini mare, that I do not particularly care to drive single. She's a pain, she's lazy, and she's rude. She's got a bazillion miles and knows quite well enough just what stunts to pull to try to get out of driving. In the arena, she barely moves, and out on the roads, she's running off and all over the place and spooking at everything. When she ran us in front of a truck last year, I was pretty much done driving her. We've had her for 6 years, and despite many attempts, I never could get her to improve. I personally do not find her fun to drive single. But she has a lot of good points - she's a solid broke 17 year old and she is absolutely excellent with beginners (in the arena). In fact, she taught both me and my husband to drive. And when we first bought her, she was very obstinate, so we learned how to deal with just about every situation that you don't want to have happen.

    I also drive my barn owner's 39" mini. Now, he's a whole different ball game. He's well put together, a forward and powerful little work horse, he bends and flexes, he loves to be adventurous and do obstacles and cones, and he's speedy and handy and agile, so it's lots of fun to combine his speedy little legs with tighter turns. He's a blast to drive, and I think any mini that combines the forward gaits with a brave little attitude, would be fun to drive!

    I drive the minis tandem, and I absolutely love it! I've definitely got the 2 (or more) horse bug, and in the future, if I have the means to manage it, I'd like to do a pair or 4 in hand of minis.


    We also have a 12.2 hand 15yr hackney pony who absolutely ROCKS. Hands down, he is fantastically fun, and by no means too little. He regularly pulls 350#, and is beyond capable of pulling 2 adults. He's speedy and easily adjustable, he knows his job rock solid, and is fun fun fun fun. He does shows and arena work and road and trail driving and he is sporty and energetic and just a great drive every time. I would love to do a pair of hackneys, beyond a doubt.


    And, the biggest of them all, my 16.2 hand Quarter Horse. I had to stop riding last year, so I turned him into a driving horse. Maybe, as a QH, he's not the most ultimate driving horse, but he does an excellent job, he's sane, quiet, and adventurous enough to handle absolutely anything I put at him. He's gearing up for his first show (and ADT) in June, and out of all of them, I love nothing more than driving him. Of course, I have a great sense of pride that I trained him myself and so far it seems to be quite successful, but I also enjoy the driving the horse size. Now, our hackney is faster than the QH and will outpace him any time, so I don't really have speed with the QH, but I am absolutely equally as comfortable driving the big horse as I am the minis, and I have just as much fun. I'd also love to do a pair with this horse, if I ever have the means.

    So really, I have to say that "size doesn't matter". I think it's the attitude and capabilities of the animal that make all the difference.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2008
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    Windsor SC till Aug
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post
    Minis are small, but they can be powerful, quick, and a whole lot of fun. A mini is perfectly capable of pulling 2 adults.
    Within reason... i think this really depends on weight of your vehicle, the size of the adults, and the footing. Yes, i could do 2 adults with my 38" mini and my 100lb cart going on flat roads with some slight inclines without issue. But fit and bold as my mini was, he would greatly struggle with two adults on sand, he might go 10min at best and then be worn out. Which really wasnt fair to him. There is a reason single VSE classes do not require grooms/navigators. It's just too much for them when you figure in the footing, obstacles, speed, or anything more than walk/trot on firm/flat footing. Just my experience.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 7, 2011
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    387

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    Quote Originally Posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
    Within reason... i think this really depends on weight of your vehicle, the size of the adults, and the footing. Yes, i could do 2 adults with my 38" mini and my 100lb cart going on flat roads with some slight inclines without issue. But fit and bold as my mini was, he would greatly struggle with two adults on sand, he might go 10min at best and then be worn out. Which really wasnt fair to him. There is a reason single VSE classes do not require grooms/navigators. It's just too much for them when you figure in the footing, obstacles, speed, or anything more than walk/trot on firm/flat footing. Just my experience.

    No, you're right, I should have been more clear. We've had our mini pull 2 adults, but it was grass/firmer footing and our cart probably weighs #75 at most.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2012
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    68

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    I am blessed with a hot Shetland pony mare (classic/stocky type) and a fantastic Standardbred (retired trotter in 1:56 consistently) and it is a hard decision.

    My pony mare is fun, quick, and very agile. She is rock solid in traffic and outside of deep footing, is a very fun and capable drive. She has a huge trot and a very controllable canter and her larger than life personality that really shows through. She loves what she does and it shows.

    My horse is a large Standardbred 16.2 and a harder drive. His mouth is pretty terrible from pulling on the track but he has a huge trot and you can feel the power down the lines. He is very serious when he's in harness and I'm hoping he learns to relax the more we drive (he's only been off the track a short time) Sitting behind him is just incredible, he has a ton of power, instant turn of foot, and can dig in and find another gear when asked.

    I never enjoyed ponies until Prissy, but she has changed my mind on them.

    I trade off, I drive Prissy the Wonder Pony when I want to go for a leisurely drive and just enjoy being with her and my 11 yo daughter can comfortably drive with us. I hope to have Beau ready for driving on trails this fall and to do some fun shows, I'm relocating to Ocala.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2009
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    598

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    I've driven a fine-boned 12.2 HH Hackney pony and my current truck on legs, a hefty 13.2 pony who is probably a Welsh. I've enjoyed the heck out of both, for different reasons. The Hackney frequently made my life flash before my eyes, but I'm an adrenaline junkie, so it was all good. The probably Welsh is powerful yet calm, a whole different driving experience. Both of them were/are short enough to reach over their backs to harness, which is wonderful with my mobility issues.

    Ponies rule!

    Rebecca



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