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Why Are Ponies So Mean and Why Do They Bite?

Last updated: November 11, 2022

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

A pony can be an entertaining pet, especially if you have children. However, sometimes people can be shocked by their aggressive behavior. In some cases, they have been known to nip people.

Ponies are mean for various reasons; the characteristics they exhibit often depend on the breed and how it’s been treated. Ponies are highly intelligent animals, which makes them easy to train, but this can also lead to negative personality traits, such as meanness and biting people.

Your pony’s behavior is often a combination of training and pony breeds. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to help your pony stop displaying such negative traits.

Why Are Ponies Aggressive?

Ponies tend to become aggressive in a few different situations. First, you might be approaching someone who the pony doesn’t know, making them feel threatened. The ponies can also be stubborn, particularly when you’re trying to get them to do something that they don’t want to do.

aggresive, ponies,

In many cases, the temperament of a pony has been likened to that of a horse. However, there are a few key differences. First, ponies are known to be highly intelligent and can learn a lot of new tricks and tasks with ease. They will also tend to demonstrate a more dominant personality.

Despite this, the exact temperament varies from pony to pony. In most cases, your pony’s attitude depends on the breed. Because of breed traits, you should do some research to learn about pony temperaments.

If you’re purchasing a pony, you might want to look for breeds like the Welsh Pony and the Shetland Pony. These breeds tend to have the best personalities, making them more suited to being with children.

They also tend to have a long lifespan and are reliable. However, it would help if you also considered the climate conditions in your area to make sure that they’ll be able to cope.

There are a few situations where your pony might be more likely to demonstrate negative personality traits. For example, as we mentioned, ponies can be brilliant animals.

As a result, they’ll be resistant to doing anything that might end up getting them injured. Because of this, you might need to take the training process a little slower, especially if you’re trying to get them to do something they are uncomfortable with.


It should also be noted that the age of the pony might impact its behavior. In most cases, it will take a pony around ten years to reach maturity.

However, this will vary depending on the breed you’re purchasing.  At younger ages, they will be more likely to misbehave or push the boundaries. So, look for a mature pony with training, especially if this is your first time working with these animals.

It’s also possible that they will be more aggressive when being introduced to new people. This aggression is often a defensive reflex; thankfully, it’s relatively easy for you to combat this behavior.

When you’re introducing someone to the pony, make sure to have someone that the pony trusts nearby. A familiar presence will calm the pony, stopping it from displaying aggressive behavior. You might need to do this for the first few interactions until the pony becomes comfortable in their presence.

Picture of a pony painted and ready for a show.

Can Training Stop Negative Pony Behavior?

Aggressive behavior from ponies might be partly because of the species’ temperament. However, you’ll be able to use training to stop your pony from demonstrating these negative traits.

One of the best ways to stop a pony from acting aggressively is by taming them. Correctly taming a pony requires a lot of focus and time to establish boundaries.

The first thing you need to do when you get a pony is to spend quality time with this is especially critical if the prior owner hasn’t provided the pony any training. There are a few simple training routines that you’ll need to do to help create a strong bond between you and the pony.

Creating a bond takes time and effort. You can work with your pony in a round pen and train it with the pressure release method. By doing this, you will be able to make sure that the animal won’t act aggressively around you. It will also make it easier for you to teach the pony more advanced tricks in the future.

Picture of a Shetland pony in a pasture.

How To Establish Trust With Your Pony?

The first step of your training process should be to establish trust with your pony. Creating a bond will make the rest of the training process more manageable.

The best way to do this is to spend time working with the pony and showing appreciation for the completion of tasks with a treat or affection.

Like many other animals, the first stage of building a relationship will be establishing a strong trust foundation. You’ll need to go through a few steps to do this. First, you’ll need to spend some time around the pony.

More one-on-one time with your pony allows it to get used to your presence and realize that you are not a threat. If it starts to feel uncomfortable or nips at you, you might want to back off for a while and give the pony time to calm down.

Once they feel more comfortable, show them some affection by petting their muzzle or scratching them behind their ears. These touches will build your bond stronger.

As we mentioned, introductions can sometimes cause anxiety for ponies, causing them to act more aggressively. As a result, you might want to be present when introducing someone to the pony.

Your presence is a great way to provide them a calming presence and helps to keep their stress under control and, in turn, makes it easier for the pony to trust the new person.

How To Get Your Pony To View You As A Leader?

Once you’ve built trust, you can move on to getting your pony to view you as a leader. The best way to do this is by teaching your pony basic commands. These commands should include things like walk and halt.


The best way to get your pony to view you as a leader is by training the pony yourself. You want to start with the basic commands and walk beside the animal.

You might also want to make sure that you’re using physical aids. For example, associate touching their ears with getting them to bow their heads.

When training your pony, it’s essential to be patient. You’ll often need to do the same action multiple times before they’ll understand the meaning of the motion.

Are ponies dangerous?

Most horse owners also had a pony either as a child or for their kids and are comfortable around equines. However, one of our non-horse neighbors is concerned about the risks to her children around ponies.

While ponies might demonstrate aggressive behavior when wanting to assert their dominance or feeling threatened, they aren’t dangerous. However, like horses, they will bite.

In most cases, they demonstrate their aggressiveness through nipping. While this might be a shock, it won’t cause any severe harm. However, you might not want to allow small children around the pony until it’s been tamed as a safety precaution.

Below is a YouTube video of an aggressive Shetland pony.

YouTube video

Final Thoughts

Ponies can occasionally be mean and bite people. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to stop this behavior. First, you might want to think about the type of species you select.

Their origins will often play a significant role in determining their temperament. You might also want to make sure that you train the pony, making sure that they trust you and see you as a leader.

By doing this, you should be able to curb the aggressiveness, revealing their loving and caring side.