Shetland ponies are one of the most favourite breeds for children. Their small size and good temperament are appreciated by many parents thus these ponies are one of the most popular choices as first ponies.
The shetland pony originates from Shetland Isles situated northeast of Scotland. The harsh landscape and Norse settler and Celtic ponies are said to have influenced the breed. Associations like the Stud Book Society in the United Kingdom and Stallion Scheme were established to maintain the purity and quality of the Shetland.
Due to the rough conditions of the Shetland Isles, these ponies became sturdy and strong. They are often characterised by a small head with widely spaced eyes and small ears.
Their coat, mane and tail are thick to protect them from cold winter weather. Compared to other horses, these ponies are the strongest relative to their size.
The temperament of these ponies is good for both riding and driving. They are also one of the most long living breeds, some living longer than thirty years.
These ponies were originally used for pulling carriages and in ploughing. Once the use of children in cold mines was banned, these child-sized ponies were used underground. The Industrial Revolution increased the use of these ponies significantly.
Today these ponies are used as riding ponies for children and for carriage driving. Other uses include showing, acting as a guide horse and therapy riding.
Anyone considering to buy a pure Shetland should make sure that it complies with the breed regulations. Height should not exceed 42 inches when fully grown and 40 inches when three years or under. Their legs should be short but sturdy.
These ponies will grow a thick winter coat which will turn into a silky, lighter version in the summer. Their coat can be of any colour but never spotted. American Shetlands have different breed characteristics.
Shetland ponies are an excellent investment as their stamina and vitality will bring years of joy to their owners. Purchasing a pure bred Shetland pony is a handy stock investment for anyone looking to breed well natured ponies whether Shetland or half-breeds.
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