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A pony, u, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. The pony is a strong and herbivorous domestic animal that can be seen via infravision, has a tendency to wander and is the most basic type of horse-like monster a character will encounter. Ponies can be tamed with veggy food such as pears or lichen corpses, and consider carrots and apples treats.

A pony has a kick attack and a bite attack.


Ponies may be generated as peaceful towards neutral characters. A pony can grow up into a horse.

The Knight starts each game with a saddled pony.[1]

Ponies have a 1100 chance of generating with a worn saddle.[2]


Ponies move fairly fast at 16 speed and attack twice during each of their turns, making them troublesome encounters for weaker characters unless they have a means to tame or pacify them. Non-tripe rations are sufficient to pacify a hostile pony if a character either does not want to tame them or lacks the proper food items. Pony corpses do not penalize characters for eating them, making them a decent meaty source of nutrition.

As pets

Main article: Knight

As herbivores, pet ponies can be tricky to keep fed for many characters due to the relative rarity of pet-friendly veggy food and corpses, though this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that pets in general can retain nutrition for much longer depending on their size.[3] Knights in particular start with a set of apples and carrots that are meant to keep their steed well-fed, and can make them last long enough to find more permanent sources of food - see the article linked above for more details on Knights and steed maintenance.

In general, remember to chat with a pet pony or use a stethoscope to determine if it is hungry.


The pony first appears in NetHack 3.3.0. In previous versions, Knights have the same chance of starting with a kitten or little dog as most other roles.


You detect an odor reminiscent of a stable.
A monster polymorphed into a pony while outside of your sight.



In SLASH'EM, Yeomen start each game with a saddled pony.


In dNetHack, human, vampire, male half-dragon, and incantifier Nobles start with a saddled pony.


In EvilHack, chaotic Knights start with a saddled lesser nightmare instead, which is the chaotic equivalent of the pony.

Ponies appear among the random u that are part of the second quest monster class for Infidels and make up 24175 of the monsters randomly generated on the Infidel quest.


In SlashTHEM, in addition to SLASH'EM details, all Nobles start with a saddled pony.

Encyclopedia entry

Hey! now! Come hoy now! Whither do you wander?
Up, down, near or far, here, there or yonder?
Sharp-ears, Wise-nose, Swish-tail and Bumpkin,
White-socks my little lad, and old Fatty Lumpkin!
Tom called them one by one and they climbed over the brow and stood in a line. Then Tom bowed to the hobbits.

"Here are your ponies, now!" he said. "They've more sense (in some ways) than you wandering hobbits have -- more sense in their noses. For they sniff danger ahead which you walk right into; and if they run to save themselves, then they run the right way."

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]