The Hackney Pony does not exceed 1.42 m (14 hh) and shares the same stud book as the Hackney Horse, with a common ancestry in the great lines of Norfolk and Yorkshire Trotters. Regardless, it is a real pony, not just a little horse. The modern Hackney Pony is confined to the show ring, where its action is the equal of that of its larger counterpart. The breed was essentially created by one man, Christopher Wilson of Cumbria. By the 1880s he had created a distinctive type based on trotting blood crossed with local Fell Ponies or occasionally with Welsh ones.

The most important Hackney Pony sire was Wilson’s champion pony stallion, Sir George, who was by a Yorkshire Trotter and could trace his descent back to the racehorse Flying Childers. Wilson mated Sir George’s female progeny from selected mares back to their sire to produce outstandingly elegant ponies with brilliant harness action. The “Wilson Ponies”, as they were known, were kept to their required limit by being wintered out on the fells where they were left to fend for themselves, a practice which ensured a remarkable hardness of constitution.