What builds character, a sense of humor and a future top rider? The answer is really quite simple, and is always under 15 hands. Ponies.

Ah, ponies, they break us down to build us up again.

They are cuddly “my little pony” stuffed toys brought to life with big, sweet eyes, a voracious appetite for cookies and an attitude problem. As equestrians, they are our first loves and greatest teachers, waiting with their heads barely peeking over the stall door for their favorite kid and dreaming of their next unprovoked bucking spree.

A pony’s unabashed honesty teaches riders right from wrong in the saddle—and how to brush off arena dust, hoist up their jodhpurs and climb back into their stirrups. But it’s never a long way down, because the occasional lessons in patience don’t compare to the limitless joy and unconditional love between a young rider and their pony, or the feeling of soaring 18″ off the ground.

The bond between an equestrian and their first pony will never be broken, no matter how old or round they get. Yet, many of us have long outgrown our short stirrup days. The best we can do once that happens is indulge our nostalgia by visiting pony havens like the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

So, without further ado, we present to you the future champions of equestrian sport: the ponies of The Royal.

Breyer toy set or The Royal Winter Fair Ponies?
Squad goals.
When your pony gives you that look that says they might not feel like behaving today.
“Does the chute look really big? Or are we just small?”
The two moods of owning a pony.
Spa day!
The best hug on Earth. Source: trust us.
When the braids are just perfection.
The moment a kid gets addicted to horse shows.
“Do you know our pattern?”
How to make your pony smile, a big pat.
“The perfect pillow doesn’t exi-“
Some days we are on the same page. Others…
“Wait for me I’ve got little legs!”

All photos ©Spowarholm.