The breeds and varieties of ponies and small horses are numerous; even Asia and Africa possess many. Some are covered with hair which approaches bristles in coarseness and stiffness. Corsica had a breed of ponies as untamable as the zebra. It is said that the body length of the Asiatic horse about equals his height at the withers, while the body-length of the African horse is considerably less than his height.
The pig has evidently sprung from two distinct groups, Sus scrofa, of Europe, and Sus Indicus, of Asia. Professor Low questions whether the African and the Asiatic horses have not also sprung from two species, or groups, originally radically different. However, it is probable that differences in altitude, food and environment, and the time which has elapsed since the respective varieties were domesticated have furnished opportunity for variations to take place as wide as those noted. Moreover, the variations noted in horses are not wider than are found in the different breeds of domesticated sheep. As yet, nothing is positively known as to whether the modern horse sprang from one or two radically different species. It is sufficient here to call attention to the marked dissimilarity of horses in different localities and in different countries.
The little bronco of Mexico and the United States has assumed several somewhat distinct types, due sometimes to slight admixture of blood, and to climate, environment and use. Specific distinguishing names have been given to some of these types, - such as mustang, Creole, Indian and bronco.
Fig. 21. Disgusted with the circus in six months.
In the United States, comparatively few ponies are now bred or used, except on the plains. If these are handsome and kind, they are salable to a limited extent at remunerative prices. The American lad, before he reaches his "teens," longs for a "truly" horse, one that has the form and action of the roadster and which requires more horsemanship to drive or ride than does the pony. He may be satisfied with an animal fourteen hands high, which, in some sections, is called a pony, in others, a light roadster; but, in any case, the animal must have many of the traits and approach the build of the snappy roadster. In other words, he must not be pudgy* short of pace and thick of neck; if he is, he is called a child's pony, and despised by the lad of sixteen.
Fig. 22. A pair of trick ponies.
Those animals which are fourteen hands and under are usually classed as ponies; those above fourteen and under fifteen hands, if pony built, are, in England, called Galloways. However, this latter term is not commonly used in the States to designate a smallish horse. The name pony, used generically to designate a small or smallish horse, of pony build, is used so differently in different countries, and even in different districts of the same country, that it is often difficult- to classify them with any degree of accuracy.