COMMON HORSE BREEDS

 

SHETLAND PONY

 

Origin:
Europe - Scotland

Shetland Pony
Photo supplied by Kanimbla Shetland & Miniature Stud - Victoria

History:
The Shetland Pony was named after an isolated group of islands on the far north east of the Scottish mainland at the same latitude as Greenland. Its origin is not clear but it is believed that it traces back many centuries to various pony breeds. Eventually a strong, hardy pony developed with free, straight action and a characteristic lift to its joints due to moving over rough and rocky terrain.
The Shetland Pony is well adapted to the harsh climate surviving on poor quality grazing and growing a double coat in winter as a protection from the cold. The coat has "guard hairs" that shed the rain and keep the skin completely dry. The Shetland Pony was used as a riding and pack horse carrying grain, peat and anything that needed to be carried. Due to their strength and small size they were in great demand for the under ground work in coal mining, diminishing their numbers as the best stallions were used. With the start of the mechanician in the 1920's and 1930's the Shetland Pony was no longer needed.
Selected breeding of the Shetland Pony did not start until the 19th century. In 1890 the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society was formed to maintain the purity of the breed and to promote the Shetland Pony.

Characteristics:
short legged and stocky
Head: small, well carried head; broad forehead; dark, large, intelligent eyes; small erect ears; broad muzzle; wide open nostrils
Body: deep, strong body; short back; muscular loins; broad, strong hindquarters
Legs: strong limbs; good flat bones, short cannons
Feet: round, extremely hard, well shaped
Coat: thick, growing double coat in winter
Mane and Tail: abundant
Color: any color except spotted
Height: no more than 102cm (40 inches) at three years and under, no more than 107cm (42 inches) at four years and over
Temperament: intelligent, can be wilful but responds well to correct handling
Qualities: very strong; active; enthusiastic; sure footed; free, straight action; easy to manoeuvre

Today:
Shetland Ponies are popular in many parts of the world. They make good riding ponies for confident children and go particularly well under harness sometimes competing at international levels.
  

  
Photo supplied by Kanimbla Shetland & Miniature Stud - Victoria

  Shetland Pony