“Pony Brain”: it ought to be a compliment

Finn the New Forest Pony is curious and intelligent.

Finn the New Forest Pony is curious and intelligent. In this motion shot, he’s offering to do anything I want if I will give him a treat. Ha! Nope, not going to happen.

Ponies are often accused of having “Pony Brain,” which seems to involve being

  • stubborn,
  • obnoxious,
  • obsessed with food,
  • opportunistic,
  • rather tricksy and uncooperative.

While I won’t deny that ponies tend to be intelligent, hardy, and survivors, I tend to think of these as positive and generally endearing characteristics. Not to mention that many of them do have a sense of humor which they don’t always use appropriately.

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We’ve all had horse owning friends who shrug, roll their eyes, and say dismissively, “Pony Brain!”  Ever notice that when their 16 and 17 hand horses do the same behaviors, no one accuses them of having a Pony Brain? Guess what: they’re all just horses. In my opinion, some are smarter than others, and they all have different personalities. Pick one with the personality, size, and type you like.

To loosely paraphrase Inigo Montoyo of The Princess Bride:  “I do not think Pony Brain means what you think it does.”

I suggest that we consider Pony Brain a compliment from this day forward. While I couldn’t uncover any scientific research that ponies are more intelligent than horses, many people seem to think they are. They’ve had to survive on their own in tough and rugged conditions for hundreds (thousands) of years, not to mention surviving the not so tender ministrations of charming little children. That takes a certain intelligence and toughness, not to mention the ability to take care of yourself.

Pony Brain in my experience equals:

  • humor
  • willingness
  • trainability
  • an ability to figure things out
  • plus ponies are usually smart enough not to take you over a cliff or through a fence.
  • They’ll take care of themselves (and you, in the process).

As long as you are smarter than your pony, Pony Brain is terrific!

Ellie and Edie, good friends.

Ellie the haflinger has a good brain and she uses it, almost always for good.

4 thoughts on ““Pony Brain”: it ought to be a compliment

  1. TOTALLY agree! I love my opinionated pony with his huge heart, huge work ethic, huge appetite, and huge ego! Actually, everything about him is huge, besides his body, lol….That’s the way I like it!


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