How Much Impact Would Changing the Max Height of Large Ponies Here in the US Have in Your Opinion?

Just a hypothetical that occurred to me – Watching the Westphalian auction last night & today, there were a few very nice young ponies that were perfect. But for the fact they already teetered precariously close to 14.2 at 3 years.old. In your opinion, how much of an impact would allowing larges to top out at 14.3 have in H/J land?

How do you mean, exactly? There would be the obvious effect of making more equines eligible for the pony division, and since there is basically no HJ market for 14.3 horses, it wouldn’t even be a zero-sum thing. An average additional inch of height wouldn’t be bad as far as the height of the jumps - for every pony finals winner there’s a large that isn’t really suited to the large height/stride. On the other hand, larges at the low end of the current height range would be put at an extra disadvantage, theoretically.

But overall wouldn’t we just switch to lamenting honies that just miss the cutoff at 14.3 instead of 14.2?


The Morgan breed fixed this as there are no Morgan ponies all are horses

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Maybe? My personal, entirely anecdotal experience is that there are far fewer 14.3hh animals than 15hh. I guess what I’m asking is how much of a disadvantage would it put smaller larges at? I’ve heard the argument made. But I’ve not heard the same made very much about horse jumpers under, say, 15.2.

Nope. I just looked it up. Morgans 14.2 & under can show in pony divisions despite being “horses”. Same as Arabians.


The market already adjusts for horses under 15.2, though, right? As in - there are a whole lot of buyers who will not even look at a sub-16hh horse. Some of that is just trendiness or lack of imagination, or they just don’t want to have to gallop on course, but it’s also going to be true that as a group, 14.3 hh horses are going to be (peceived to be) at a disadvantage in regards to fence height and stride length as compared to 15.2 - 16 hh horses.

I bet you’re right - ponies at the very short end of the range would become even more “disadvantaged”, but I’m not sure how much practical effect that would have on the division as a whole.

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Absolutely. What I meant is that I’ve not heard anyone worrying about a 16.2hh horse at a disadvantage against a 17.1hh horse. ( There are valid arguments to be made against the 17.1hh horse. ) Or maybe do complain & I’ve just never heard it. Lol.

We’d adjust and in a generation be talking about “what would it look like if we allowed 15 hands as a large”. Realistically, there are tons of 14.3 larges out there who have pony cards. I think expanding the large range would probably encourage people to try and keep pushing the edge when breeding so you’d see an influx of 15-15.2 from people trying to breed without going over.


Bingo. Wherever you set the bright line between horse/pony, breeders will selectively breed to that standard. Moving it now merely accommodates the current “slop” in the process. When the new standard is 14.3, there will still be slop.

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LOL, in Open shows yes those 14.2h and under will in pony classes, we one mare who was a really nice horse who was 14.1+ When she was used as a child’s mount shown in a open show pony class was nearly always challenged since we do not have official measurement cards. This mare appeared to be in the mid 15h range but always measured less than 14.2

But we have no pony Morgans they are all Morgan Horses

But we are not talking about breed shows, we are talking about Hunter shows, where it does not matter what breed it is, just what height it is.

OP, moving the number only changes what specific horse is stuck just above the line. There will always be wonderful horses that do not measure, no matter where you put the line.


I do agree with you, there is a Rule and there has to be a specific point of demarcation (maybe if the British had pit mines that were taller than a current pony would be greater than 14.2?)

Whatever the reason there will always be those who feel infringed because they want to be on one side or the other …after all it just a Rule that most all others agree to

So changing the Rule just moves the point of focus as there will be some one somewhere that believes the Rule is unjust

As for us, we used our ponies to beat the horses all the time

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The reason for the height limitation in mountain and moorland breeds in the British Isles is that once the animals are too tall they loose that invaluable ‘type’ that is so central to the character of the pony breeds. Most of the M&M breeds come from places where the climate and terraine are tough and they have evolved to cope. Even the New Forest ponies, who have probably the softest home terrain, can grow another hand if you take one off the forest as a youngster. So it is concern for pony type and keeping the breed standards pure that set the height limit rather than showing. But then along came the sport ponies which at root are Welsh and British Riding Ponies crossed with small WB. The genetics can easily add height but the international rules were already set at 148 cm when half the kids in Europe were riding New Forest and Welsh. The Sport Ponies look like short horses with very little pony evident. There are always taller examples of animals who can not compete at the highest levels.


Thank you, I didn’t understand why clanter kept banging this drum when OP was clearly only asking about shows where height and not breed is the only factor. I used to do Arabs but I didnt care that people bought the plain short ones and called them Welshx, because breed doesnt matter :joy:


Adding an extra division would be a headache, but how about an “Extra Large Pony” division for 14.2+ to 15.2? Or a “small horse” division? I am old enough to remember when hunterland had “Small Conformation Hunters” which I think were 14.2+ to under 16 hands, but most were 15 hands and up. One of the horses I rode when I returned to riding was an elderly TB mare who had been pointed towards that division as a young horse, until she was badly injured. She was 15.1 and gorgeous.


There is a “Small Hunter” division at USEF shows, for horses 14.2-16h. They jump 3’. In my experience, it’s a division that either rarely fills or barely fills. Looking at the 2020 national standings, only around 50 horses showed in the division period (compared to hundreds who showed in the 3’6" performance division or 3’ greens - just looking at those divisions for interest comparison). I prefer a smaller horse so I love the idea of the Small Hunter division, but would be hard pressed to campaign a horse solely in that division because of the lack of other horses to fill it.

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The older I get, the shorter I like both my horses and my fences. My current horse is 15 hands and, while he may be athletic enough to grow into a 3’ horse, I don’t foresee ever showing over 2’6" again. So, maybe, “I want a smaller horse” and “I want to show over fences at 3’” are, to a certain extent, mutually exclusive.

And then you’ve got market selection at work. Anyone who wants to show seriously wants a bigger horse, so anyone who has a smaller horse to sell aims it at a different market.


Yes! Totally yes!


Huh? I thought Large Pony Hunters (not Green, not “Childrens”) jumped 3’. Or did they change that?

Huh? I was not talking about ponies or pony hunters or the young people who ride them.

I was talking about myself and the multitude of little old ladies like me who are moving to smaller horses and smaller fences as we age and I was speaking only in the context of the previously mentioned lack of interest in the Small Hunter division, which jumps at 3’. That has nothing to do with ponies.