Shetland Pony

  • Shetland Ponies in Great Britain
  • Shetland Pony Pet in the UK
  • Shetland Pony Breed information
  • Shetland Pony in Great Britain
  • Shetland Pony in UK
  • Shetland Pony in the UK
  • Shetland Pony Pets in the UK
  • Shetland Ponies
  • Shetland Ponies in the UK
  • Shetland Pony

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The Shetland Pony is one of the smallest breeds of horses. Its average height is only about 102cm or 40 inches, and unlike other horses, they are not measured in hands. Their height is a maximum of 117cm. Coat colours include bay, brown, chestnut, black, and grey, and some coats have spotting.

The Shetland Pony is popular as a child’s mount and pet. They live for a long time and are low-maintenance. They are composed and gentle when properly taken care of.

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Originating from Shetland Isle, Scotland, the Shetland Pony is the most recognised and loved breed of horse that was able to survive their harsh climate. Their climate is said to be the main reason for the Shetland Pony’s strength and adaptability. They are believed to have survived terrible winters, despite their owners not being able to feed them due to the lack of food.

Excavation on Shetland suggests that the ponies have been living on the island since the Bronze Age. They are believed to be crossed from southern European beasts and an Oriental breed, done by the Celtic settlers.

The Shetland ponies were an important addition to crofting families because they served as workhorses, helping cultivate the lands and transport peats from the hills, seaweeds from the shores, and their owners across the islands. The hairs from their tails were also used to make fishing lines.

During the 1840s, due to the new law forbidding the employment of women, the Shetland ponies were then being used as substitutes. With their size and strength, they were able to easily pass through low underground tunnels pulling large amounts of coals.

From around the 1880’s until the end of the 19th century, breeding of the ponies in the islands began. The most popular was the one operated by Marquis of Londonderry on the islands of Noss and Bressay.

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Appearance and Grooming

The Shetland Pony’s coat is believed to adapt to seasons. During the summer, the coat is usually shorter and has a silky sheen to it. However, during the winter, the coat doubles in volume to protect them from the island’s harsh weather conditions.

The Shetland Pony is often mistaken as a miniature horse, but they are not the same. Although the Shetland Pony and the miniature horse are built with small bodies, the Shetland Pony is a tad taller than the miniature horse. The miniature horse has a taller neck than that of a Shetland Pony. The ponies also have a tight and muscular build, whilst the horse does not. When it comes to coats, manes and tails, the Shetland ponies have it rough, thick, and lengthy, whilst the miniature horses have it smooth. Additionally, Shetland ponies are outdoor workers, and miniature horses are more of indoor pets.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The Shetland Ponies are popular workhorses despite their small size. They are the strongest among all the other horse breeds. Being of service to people for centuries through their help in cultivating lands and other numerous aspects, is a proof of their strength. However, in the modern days, their strength makes them a suitable riding pony for children.

Being able to cope with the harsh winters, roaming the wild with little food makes the Shetland Pony headstrong and independent. Their docile nature made them adapt well with people.

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Nutrition and Feeding

In the past, Shetland ponies would usually graze on the hill ground. In areas where the land and sea meet, ponies were thought to supplement their diet from the mineral-rich seaweeds on the seas.

The Shetland ponies are herbivores. They feed on grass, leaves, shrubs, and other plants. In captivity, they are kept healthy through the supplies of grass and hay. Mineral salt blocks are also provided to them for extra minerals.

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Health and Exercise

The Shetland Pony has a long lifespan which ranges from twenty to twenty-five years. However, ponies exceeding thirty years of life is not a surprise. Their size is thought to contribute to their longevity. Larger animals are more likely to have a heart problem that can lead to early death, which is not the case for these small ponies. The oldest Shetland Pony was able to live for more than fifty years.

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Cost of Ownership

The Shetland Pony can cost from £100 to £900. However, the monthly or yearly costs are dependent on the area and the special needs of the said horse.

Shetland Pony Breed Highlights

  • The Shetland Pony is headstrong and independent. They are good for busy people who cannot keep an eye on their pets 24/7.
  • They are strong and could carry your baggage and other heavy objects.
  • Their docile nature makes them a wonderful companion.
  • A family with children would not have any problems taking care of the pony.
  • They can live for a very long time.
The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.