Your statement, that I quoted, and commented on, was about “smaller horses” and ‘showing at 3’" being mutually exclusive. Nothing abut the age of the rider.
That statement didn’t exist in isolation. It was part of a paragraph. The first sentence of which started with “The older I get…” In addition, the statement you quoted started with the word “so.” “So,” when used in this sentence construction and context means “and for this reason; therefore.” Grammatically, that ties it directly to the preceding sentences, which provide the context for the statement - context that you seem determined to ignore for no reason that I can fathom.
But the THREAD is about PONY Hunters, not about small horses ridden by adults.
FHIW I am well over 60 and have competed my 15h1" horse at 3’3’ and 3’6" for many years (mostly eventing and jumpers rather than hunters).
And of course we all know that discussions at COTH always stay strictly on topic and individual posts never spawn subdiscussions that are only tangentially related.
As a very short adult with no interest in serious showing, I’ve benefited from the current rules on many occasions, leasing or riding a 14.3h with a lovely disposition and a great, willing horse, who just was unfortunately a little bit too big to be a pony and a little bit too small to be ridden by more normally-sized people.
Self-interested joking aside, though, I will say that in my purely unscientific experience, the 14.3h and 15h horses I rode definitely handled like horses, versus the large ponies I’ve also frequently ridden. Probably a combined influence of breeding/being ridden by fewer children. I love small horses (hony-types), and while I understand why there’s an obsession with bigger horses for the show ring, 15h is definitely my perfect height.
That’s an interesting point. My 14.3 PB Connemara definitely moves more like a horse, whereas my 14.1 grade girl has more pony-like movement – smooth gaits, but very short-strided. Probably due more to breeding/genetics – but it IS interesting to wonder if there is something of a height point beyond which the movement is going to feel more horse-like to a rider regardless of breeding or conformation. Seems unlikely, but VERY interesting to contemplate – and would also provide a firm foundation for keeping 14.2 the line of demarcation.
Yes, maybe there is some method to the madness of the cutoff limit after all! Perhaps I really notice it because I’m currently riding a pony who is perhaps a fraction under 14h and a 14.3h horse, and while there are many other factors which make these horses very different rides, the feel is quite dramatically different. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has spotted this!
So, I’m inclined to say it is more breeding/genetics than height. And there are likely too many exceptions & outliers. My anecdotal experience: the first time I asked for a canter depart from the 15.2 Belgian WB hony we leased for my daughter, I had to ask a bystander to confirm he was actually cantering. Short pony stride despite being almost “normal” horse height. OTOH, at 16hh, my horse was just a smidge taller, yet felt like he ate the ground for breakfast at the canter.