Matching a pony to a young ride is greatly simplified if you follow the tips given here.
Step 1: Check responsiveness to touch Check whether you can touch the pony without prompting a reaction. Make sure the pony does not react to sudden movements or noise.
TIP: As a rule, geldings make better riding animals than mares, which tend to be moody. Stallions are not suitable for inexperienced riders.
Step 2: Consider height Consider the height of the pony. Make sure the rider can get on or off safely by themselves.
TIP: Consider purchasing a small horse if the rider is likely to be faced with selling a well-loved animal after outgrowing it.
Step 3: Make a surprise inspection Make a surprise visit to the pasture or stable where the pony is kept. This way you will see the pony as it really is, not as it may have been prepped to appear.
Step 4: Take along a trainer Take along a trainer or someone experienced with ponies when you inspect the animal.
Step 5: Consider the pony's history Consider the pony's history -- its training, any bad habits, behavior toward other ponies, its reaction to transportation in a trailer, any history of health problems, and why it is being sold. If you are satisfied with what you have learned, go buy the pony and start riding.
FACT: Dartmoor ponies have been present on the English moors for nearly 1,000 years.