Pony Riding by a new rider


New Member
Dec 1, 2003
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I am a woman 175 cms tall and 205 pounds and new to riding. I prefer riding small ponies instead of horses( I feel safe as well!). Where I come from in india, there are lots of opportunities to ride ponies as well. I have seen bigger women riding them
But I have a problem. Most of the ponies look too small when i ride and I have received sarcastic comments from people on this. Also, when I mount them, I feel their back sags down a lot. Is it normal that the ponies back sags after mounting?
Am I doing right by riding small ponies ?
Please advise.

Em 1

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2001
It's difficult to tell without seeing you on the pony - weight carrying does depend on breed, age, fitness etc but I would be worried if I could feel the horse 'sag' underneath me. This does sound like your pony is too small for you - it should be able to carry you freely and easily in all paces. There are quite a lot of threads on ponies and adult riders in 'Adults who ride ponies' or you could do a search.


I'd definately be worried about sagging!

How small is the small pony you are riding?

I'm 165cm and the smallest I ride is 14.2hh. I could get away with 14hh, but I like bigger horses.

Horses aren't that scarey! Little ponies are often naughtier than horses!



New Member
Dec 1, 2003
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I think most of the ponies are around 12 hh. I do feel much more comfortable and in control when riding small ponies.
Regarding sagging, it is when i mount from a block(which i normally do even for small ones). I was told that mounting from a block is good for the pony's back. Moment I shift my weight from the block on the pony's back, it sags a lot and i feel it recoveres after some seconds.
I don't want to be too unkind to the ponies but also don't want to deprive myself of riding experiences

Is it normal for a woman of my size to ride the ponies?
Does any other woman on this forum ride 11-12 hh ponies?


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
Okay this is a bit of a knotty one.

Yes I am about 180lbs around 86-89kgs. 13.5 -14 stone depending on the time of year. :)

We have a 12hh Exmoor pony, and a 42 inch Shetland which I have ridden for very short periods on flat even ground. For 15 minutes they are fine, thier backs don't sag and they offer trot quite freely. An Exmoor of around 12.2hh is expected to be able to carry 11-12 stone all day on a hunt. The 42inch Shetland is one of the MOST chunky type and not at all elegant! :)

However I wouldn't like to ride them out in the hill for any length of time if I was 12 stone I might, bit I feel 13.5-14 stone is tto much over rough ground for any length of time.

The fact that the pony is reacting to your weight is a bit of a pointer that your and the pony weight ratio are not really up for it. If you could go to a 13.2hh cunky cobby pony that would be better. My 13.2hh Haflinger or Fat Cob wouldn't blink at your weight they have substance to go with the height.


Jun 27, 2002
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(By the way Hi, and welcome to the board I forgot to say it in my last post. Sorry).

A lot adults ride smaller ponies in the UK (11hH - 12hH), but most are very light weight adults (around the 7 and a half stone - to 8 and a half mark). Some of the others would perhaps be able to give you a better picture than myself, but I would say it is uncommon to see women any heavier riding small ponies regularly in the UK.

A lot will depend on how often you ride the pony, and where and what you do and also the breed. UK native breeds are going to be a lot more capable of carrying weight than say a finer bred horse. Arabs can also carry quite a bit of weight. You don't say how tall you are, but as a general guide you'd probably be given a horse to ride in the UK that is around the 13.2hH - 14.2hH mark, if you wanted to ride a smaller pony.

As for the mounting it is much better to use this to mount than to try and get on from the ground for any horse - so you are absolutely correct about this!

Hopefully some of the more experienced pony owners amongst us will help you out more.

EDIT - Wally and I have cross posted. She's very experienced about this so follow her advice!


There was an Indian lady on this board a while ago who was talking about this same thing, is that you?

I think I would definately ride a bigger horse. If you are 175cm, 12hh is a little on the small side for riding all the time.



New Member
Dec 1, 2003
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I am not the Indian lady who had posted a similar message before. If you can give me the login name or the post details, I would like to touch base with her.

Wally- Does the 12hh or 42 inch ponies back sag when you mount them or if you ride them for more than 15 mins ? Do you have pics of riding them ?

Most of my riding is on plain roads but at times on hill as well. Typically the riding time is 30-45 mins.

The ponies don't protest or buck me off(although their back sags). Doesn't it mean that they are OK with my weight ?

Also, if anybody has pics of a large rider on small ponies. It would help me to make a decision.

Thanks to all for the help !


i am 5ft 4 and weigh around 11.5 stone!! i ride a 12.2hh pony some tomes at the shows but i wouldnt think that he would take much morse weight for very long!!! my dad has ridden him and he weighs around 15 stone but this was for 10 mins when harvey was being a brat and i was little and not at all impressed by being bucked off!! the silly little pony then bucked him off and went cantering down the field and refused to be caught


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Well-Known Member
Jul 16, 2003
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@ rider_fan: the fact their backs sag is definitely not a good sign and i'd guess they're probably not all too happy. and, not all ponies buck people off if they're unhappy. and i don't think the 'what does it look like' factor is important here. the main thing is whether your ponies are actually up to carrying your weight or not.

julia :)


New Member
May 31, 2003
If the ponies back is "sagging" I would definatly be moving up to ta larger mount. If you feel more comfortable riding ponies then try to find one that is a cobby type. One that has the substance to support your weight. I weigh around the same as you and have ridden my 11.2hh welsh for about 10-15 minutes at walk and trot but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing any more than this.


New Member
Sep 30, 2003
Would that it were that simple ,the type is more important than height.For instance a lightweight 14hh2in is definately not up to 14st 7lb ,whereas a 13hh2in Highland , Fell , Dales would carry thios weight more easily than a 16hh horse of light build .Weight carrying ability is also dependant on the quality of the bone eg. an Arab or TB has denser bone than the more coldblooded types.


Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
It isn;t your height that is the issue but the weight. I think you would need a well built 14hh type cob or native to carry you, so that it is the right weight for the pony and also you will feel in proportion.

I am 5'6" and weigh around 12st and my 15hh cob carries me easily - but I think the smallest horse I would be happy on would be around 14=14'2hh due to length of leg etc.


New Member
Jun 15, 2001
South Wales
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I hopped on my friend's 11.2hh section a cob x highland, and it was not best impressed. Having said that, it was easy for me to take the weight off it's back as I could touch the floor on either side!! I'm about 11 stone, 1m75 and I've also ridden a 13.2hh cob who was more than able to carry my weight, even if I did look a bit daft! We had some lovely canters together and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Having said that, this was only a short term measure and i never took her out for more than 45mins at a time.

I now ride a 15.2hh mw thoroughbred who is more than able to carry my weight, although I still look a little on the large side! I would also say you are better off with a heavyweight pony of about 14hh with lots of bone, then they should be able to carry you comfortably with no 'sagging'.

Drummers mum

I love my pony!
Feb 1, 2004
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I know I'm a bit late but just wanted to say: Drummer is fine with me, but when my friend got on him, you could almost see him groan, lol. She only rode for 10 minutes and he carries her fine but she is still too heavy for him. Maybe if he had a bit more muscle but not at the moment.


Nov 28, 2002
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It also depends on how you carry yourself. A pony could carry a heavier person who has a light seat easier than a lighter person who sits like a sack of potatos.

How long have you been riding Rider_fan?

Im a heavy girl and perfer riding smaller horses (shorter distance to fall! :eek: ) but due to medication im taking ive put on a good bit of weight, so ive taken the decision not to ride until I lose the weight.

The back sagging issue deffinitley seems like the pony is not comfortable. You should try a larger mount, maybe something of a quiet nature? You might find you enjoy the longer smoother paces.

Kez x


New Member
Aug 27, 2004
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small mount 2

hello members .....

do you chat sometimes ?
i can chat in yahoo........have you a pseudo ?
mine is : domglop78

i'm always in ( i try)

just for fun and talking about small mount....

to see you next time

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