By Helen Chimbos
The Devon Horse Show, Where Champions Meet, is a coveted stop on the tour for top Small Pony Hunters. Only accepting the top 30 qualifiers, the competitors are the entries with the most points in their top 15 horse shows through the April 1-April 1 qualifying season. This elite group of ponies is only a small subsection of the 254 regular Small Pony Hunters that USEF awarded points to in 2022.
The obsession with “top of the line” ponies is a very real bias in the market. Given these ponies make their way into top programs, it is likely that this desire for the largest possible ponies in any given height section would show up at a show like The Devon Horse Show.
Just how prevalent is it? Almost half the ponies had their USEF measurement cards at exactly 12.2 h. The smallest pony in the division (and one of the winningest) Heavenly Patch of Blue stands at only 12.0 ⅛ h.
Data was acquired from the USEF.org database from official measurement cards, which are awarded to every pony over 6 years of age. The size of a pony is determined by the height of the highest point of their wither, measured in hands. Each hand is equal to four inches and is measured from the ground to the top of the pony’s withers. Small ponies are 12.2 hands or smaller. Medium ponies are over 12.2 hands, but no taller than 13.2 hands. Large ponies have heights ranging from over 13.2 hands but not taller than 14.2 hands. Any equine taller than 14.2 hands is considered a horse. USEF measurement cards also provide information on whether a pony was shod or not and also the height of their heel.
Raw data is available by request to firstname.lastname@example.org
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