When a trainer owns a lead pony, it’s a “barn pony”… that is, it normally works for that trainer only, in the morning and often in the afternoon too (at the races). Other ponies are owned by people running a “lead pony business”, who will contract out to many different trainers, and it is their full time employment, and work both in the morning and at the races for those trainers. Those people will likely own several ponies, some being “morning ponies” only, others being “afternoon ponies”, who are those that you see working practically every race in the afternoon’s card. It often takes a different sort of pony to do each type of work. Lead ponies who work the races often do not work in the morning, or if they do, it’s light work, a break off for a worker, etc. Afternoon ponies are those who are very reliable, and know their job well, very sensible. Morning ponies are “tough” ones, “very sound” galloping machines, as they may pony many horses in the morning, exercise for the racehorses without a rider on their back (for some reason). But they may not be ponies who are suitable to work the races in the afternoon. Not all lead ponies will tolerate the jockey’s foot being crammed into their flank, so not all are not suitable to work the races. Not all afternoon ponies can take the amount of galloping required to be true morning ponies. Green ponies usually start out being morning ponies, and may or may not turn into afternoon ponies in time, with training and experience.
“Outrider” ponies work for the racetrack, sheparding post parade, picking up loose horses, and dealing with accidents both in the morning and at the races. They are usually owned by their riders, who hold the job for the track operator.