Ponying is the practice of leading one horse while riding another. It is used as a method to exercise horses too young to be ridden, a way to provide light work to injured horses or those recovering from illness or surgery. It also is a useful method by which a single individual can condition more than one horse at a time. Horses can also be ponied with riders on both horses, a practice commonly seen at racetracks, where the pony rider assists in controlling the other, usually younger and more fractious horse.
At a race track, ponying is done to bring race horses to the track, to accompany them as they warm up for exercise, and then pick them back up after they run. Pony riders are required to wear helmets and safety vests when on the track with their charges.
Most ponying is done from a western saddle to give the pony rider more security and to allow the rider to "dally" or wrap the lead rope around the saddle horn if needed to maintain control of the ponied horse. The pony horse must have a calm and steady disposition. Geldings are often preferred mounts due to their more reliable disposition, particularly for ponying stallions. Although the word "pony" is used, horses used for ponying are generally full-sized.
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