Europe - Scotland

Highland Pony
Photo supplied by the Highland Pony Society of Australia - Victoria

The Highland Pony originated in the Highlands of Scotland and the islands off the west coast. It is believed that it has lived there for thousands of years. Starting from about the 6th century the Dukes of Athol were influential breeders of the Highland Pony and introduced eastern blood to create a hardy, sure footed and long lived pony suitable for the harsh environment. Its strength and sturdy built made the Highland Pony a popular choice as an army mount, in harness work hauling timber, as a mount for shepherds and as a pack horse for deer stalkers to carry the shot stags weighing more than 101kg (16 stones) into the hills and back.
In 1923 the Highland Pony Society was founded and until recently the breed was divided into the smaller, lighter Western Isles type and the heavier Mainland type standing up to 14.2hh. There are approximately 6,000 Highland Ponies worldwide, mainly in Scotland and England with small numbers in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

Head: well carried; broad forehead; kind, alert eyes; wide nostrils
Neck: strong, arched, well carried, clean throat
Shoulders: laid back
Body: compact body; deep chest; well sprung ribs; powerful hindquarters; strong, well developed thigh and second thigh
Legs: strong limbs; short cannons; hard, flat bone
Feet: hard, well shaped, silky feather ending in a prominent tuft at the fetlock
Mane and Tail: long, silky, flowing
Color: one of the pony's most striking features; shades of dun, grey, brown and black, occasionally liver chestnut with silver mane and tail
Height: 13 to 14.2hh
Temperament: kind, willing worker
Qualities: versatile, strong, sturdy, sure footed, longevity, all-round worker, inexpensive to feed
The Highland Pony is a good general purpose riding pony able to carry an adult rider and is often used for pony trekking. Purebred ponies are successful in driving and dressage competitions. Crossed with the Thoroughbred the Highland Pony is an excellent horse for hunting.