American Walking Pony


PetMD Editorial

. Reviewed by Courtnee Morton, DVM
Updated Mar. 30, 2023

The American Walking Pony is a seven-gaited riding pony that is common in the United States. A result of the mating between a full-size horse and a pony-sized horse, it is often entered in horse shows and competitions.

Physical Characteristics

The American Walking Pony exhibits the mix of characteristics that it got from its ancestors. From the Tennessee Walking Horse, the American Walking Pony got its naturally smooth and fluid gait. From the Welsh Pony, it got its muscular, highly arched, long neck, and the beautifully formed and proportioned Arab-like head. Its eyes are set at a good distance from one another; the whites of the eyes often show. Their ears are well-formed and pointed, its shoulders are long and gracefully sloping, its back is short, its chest is wide, its pasterns are sloping and of medium length, and its tail is straight. It is, at most, 14 hands (56 inches, 142 centimeters) in height. This breed comes in almost all colors.

The American Walking Pony has a very light and fluid gait. In all, it has seven different gaits. Aside from the common gaits (e.g., trotting), it also has a few tricks of its own including its unique gait repertoire: the canter, the Pleasure Walk and the Merry Walk. The American Walking Pony’s canter is distinctly smooth and relaxed. The four-beat Pleasure Walk is faster than a normal walk and involves some distinct head movements. The four-beat Merry Walk, on the other hand, also involves some head movements but is faster than the Pleasure Walk.

Its characteristics and its pleasant physical attributes make the American Walking Pony a favorite mount in driving classes. It also shows great jumping ability and makes a good pony hunter.

Personality and Temperament

This is a good show-horse precisely because of its great ability to learn, understand, and obey the trainer’s commands and instructions. It has a friendly and outgoing personality, which makes them an excellent choice for children and beginners. American Walking Ponies are highly intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They are also known for their calm temperament, making them suitable for a variety of disciplines, including trail riding, showing, and driving.

History and Background

The American Walking Pony as a breed is a result of many years of extensive breeding experiments. The final—and the best—American Walking Pony stock was derived from a cross between the Tennessee Walking Horse and the Welsh Pony.

According to the current standards for this breed, any pony that is a result of this particular cross, regardless of the specific lineage of the sire and dam, can be registered as an American Walking Pony. To complete the registration a horse’s records must be submitted to the American Walking Pony Association, a registry established by Joan Hudson Brown in 1968 for the express purpose of documenting and preserving the American Walking Pony breed.

However, when there is a large pool of horses that can be used for breeding purposes, this registry enforces stricter standards and accepts only those whose sire and dam are both registered with the association.

Health and Care

The American Walking Pony is a hardy breed that is generally healthy. However, like all horses, they can be prone to certain health issues, including laminitis and respiratory problems. Regular veterinary check-ups, proper nutrition, and exercise are essential for maintaining the health of this breed. Their diet should consist of high-quality hay or pasture grass and a small amount of grain or other supplements, as needed depending on their exercise and workload.

Featured Image:

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health