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Can Adults Ride Ponies?

The popularity of adults riding ponies is skyrocketing right now due to some successful marketing from a number of holiday resorts showing adults riding around on ponies.

This has resulted in a number of people reaching out and asking if adults can ride ponies or not though and with more and more people reaching out with each month that goes by, we have decided to publish our own article covering the topic.

Although adults riding ponies has been heavily debated on social media already, much of the information that people use to back up their opinion is based on theory rather than fact.

This is why we wanted to publish our own article going over the topic to try and help as many of our readers who are adults and are considering riding ponies.

One thing that we would say is that the majority of places that do rent ponies for riding will also offer horses for riding too so you can usually easily get a horse from the same business if needed.

In addition to this, the businesses that rent these ponies are often heavily regulated for the welfare of the animals so they will usually offer you the best possible advice on what you can and can’t ride.

Can Adults Ride Ponies?

Although some adults can ride ponies without issue, the general rule of thumb for riding a pony is that the maximum load capacity for the pony to bear should be around 25% or less of its body weight.

Due to the definition of what is and is not classed as a pony also changes their body weight meaning they are able to support humans of different sizes too. A Connemara pony is the only pony species in the world where an adult pony is consistently able to support the weight of an adult human.

This is due to the definition of a pony changing between countries. The term pony can be used to describe a horse that is under an approximate height and weight but it can also be used to describe a horse with a specific conformation and temperament too.

The first definition is the more commonly used definition and the one that most of our readers will be aware of though but this presents and additional issue.

Depending on your country and even your state, the weight limitations to define a horse as a pony can change meaning that its body weight fluctuates and the maximum load capacity will also change.

Most of our readers will probably live in countries where a pony has to be under 58 inches or 147 cm at the withers though.

How Much Weight Can A Pony Carry?

The weight that a pony can support is usually less than or equal to a quarter of its body weight but the specific type of pony will also come into play with this.

Draft-type ponies have been specifically bred to be considerably stronger than regular ponies and although their strength is designed for pulling weight, it also increases the weight it can support when being ridden.

As we touched on earlier in the article, the Connemara pony originally bred in Ireland is the only pony breed in the world that has been bred to be as strong as possible with an adult Connemara pony often being able to easily support an adult human with relative ease.

Please keep in mind that the health and age of the pony will come into play for this one too though.

The Connemara pony has even been used in various competitions for show jumping, dressage and eventing with adult riders proving that they are able to support the weight of an adult with ease.

When it comes to draft-type ponies they are often able to support adults but it will depend on the specific species and its capabilities.

Why Do Adults Ride Ponies?

Adults ride ponies for a number of reasons and although many people instantly think it is cruel due to people associating the term pony with a very small horse, Connemara ponies and some draft-type ponies easily being able to support the weight of an adult human.

Other species of pony should not be ridden by an adult human though but some rogue pony rental companies will still permit it.

On social media, you will often just see people outright saying that ponies should never be ridden by humans with some people being quiet vocal about how it is “cruel” without even being aware of the various pony breeds that have been specifically bred to be stronger than the average pony.

This is very common and in the age of social media with more and more people sharing their photographs of activities that they get up to online, we feel that this will only increase.

It is well documented online that there are many professional equestrian riders of Connemara pony who have competed and sometimes even won a number of equestrian events.

The draft-type ponies are usually not used for competition as they have been bread as working ponies but there are plenty of draft-type ponies that are also able to support the weight of an adult human with ease.


That brings our article going over if adults can ride ponies to a close. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand that there are just too many variables involved for this to be a clear cut answer. There are plenty of ponies out there that are able to easily support the weight of an adult human with ease without the pony having any problems at all.