Shetland ponies also were probably influenced by the Celtic pony, brought to the islands by settlers between 2000 and 1000 BCE. The harsh climate and scarce food developed the ponies into extremely hardy animals.
Shetland ponies were first used for pulling carts and for carrying peat, coal and other items, and sloughing land. Then, as the Industrial Revolution increased the need for coal in the mid-nineteenth century, thousands of Shetland ponies travelled to mainland Britain to be pit ponies, working underground hauling coal, often for their entire (often short) lives.
Coal mines in the eastern United States also imported some of these animals. The last pony mine in the United States closed in 1971.
It was started in 1890 to maintain purity and encourage high-quality animals. In 1957, the Shetland Islands Premium Stallion Scheme was formed to subsidize high-quality registered stallions to improve the breeding stock.
A short broad back and deep girth are universal characteristics, as is a springy stride. It has a long thick mane and tail, and a dense double winter coat to withstand harsh weather.
It may be of any known horse coat color other than spotted. It is not unusual for a Shetland pony to live more than 30 years.
Shetland pony “Grand National” in the Today, Shetlands are ridden by children and are shown by both children and adults at horse shows in harness driving classes as well as for pleasure driving outside the show ring. Shetlands are ridden by small children at horse shows, in riding schools and stables as well as for pleasure.
They are seen working in commercial settings such as fairs or carnivals to provide short rides for visitors. They are also seen at petting zoos and sometimes are used for therapeutic horseback riding purposes.
Junior Harness Racing was founded in Queensland by a group of breeders to give young people aged 6–16 an opportunity to obtain a practical introduction to the harness racing industry. The children have the opportunity to drive Shetland ponies in harness under race conditions.
No prize money is payable on pony races, although winners and place-getters receive medallions. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shetland pony.
“On the origins of the Ex moor pony: did the wild horse survive in Britain?” ^ The Last Pony Mine, a documentary film, Les Benedict, director, Steve Knudsen, producer, 1972.
^ Elise Rousseau, Yann Le Boris, Teresa Lavender Pagan (2017). Appearing to roam wild across Shetland, the ponies are, in fact, all owned and tended to by local crofters.
During August, the local agricultural shows take place, providing excellent opportunities for visitors to see these wonderful ponies in action. Hardy, resilient and very strong for their size, the ponies could pass through low underground tunnels hauling truckloads of coal.
The export of ponies had greatly reduced the number and quality of stallions in Shetland, threatening future breeding patterns. As a result, the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society was established in 1890 to ensure that purity of the breed was retained.
Hilbert’s description of the winter coat and their sometimes scruffy outward appearance is worth noting. He says that “the long shaggy hair with which he is clothed, has more the appearance of a Polar dress, or of some Arctic livery, specially dispensed to the quadruped of Headland ” He also describes the mane as one that “no comb was applied” and “it was left to nature’s care, ‘ruffled at speed, and dance’d in every wind”.
The rough grazing provided from a Shetland hillside is ideally suited to allow them to thrive. In the days before our road network, ponies provided good transport overland where a boat couldn’t be used.
Black, male Shetland ponies were the ideal ‘small-horse’ for the job as they were very strong, capable of carrying twice their own weight and able to fit into narrow, dark and dusty mine-shafts. George Low (visiting Shetland in 1774) described them as being “excellent work beasts, capable of enduring much fatigue”.
Over the years, thousands of ponies were sent to the mines throughout Britain and America, working underground, hauling carts. Doctors who travelled with the Dutch fleets encouraged this type of activity for the men who went ashore after months at sea.
One incident tells of a tragic accident when one of the ponies failed to stop whilst racing up to the Knob in Berwick. The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society was formed in 1890 with an aim of ensuring purity and retaining a high-quality animal.
Loss (an island off Shetland ’s east coast, at the back of Br essay) was a large pony breeding stud in the 19th century. Today every pony bred in Shetland must have a microchip and passport in order to confirm authenticity.
But, most of all, they are kept out of love for the breed and the desire to maintain the lineage bred from Jack of Loss. Despite their small stature and unassuming nature, these small native ponies remain one of the most easily recognizable, iconic creatures, readily associated with Shetland. They want to taste the salt on their faces, smell the sea and bear witness to the wind in their hair.
The glamorous former girlfriend of Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood was in her element while rolling enormous hay bales across the muddy fields surrounding the Canterbury property. Evidently in high spirits, Summer, 25, beamed as she fed two inquisitive ponies from one of the large bales as they idled alongside her.
With temperatures continuing to plummet across England, the former barmaid stayed warm beneath a large black bobble hat as she went about her daily chores. She added to her look with a sensible hooded jacket, black riding trousers and Wellington boots while clambering across the wet, uneven ground.
She is a mass of chestnut-coloured body hair with a flaxen mane and tail. She has small legs and hooves, too, and it’s a wonderful sight to behold watching her keep up with my two sports horses as they run around the paddock.
The Shetland Islands are remote and windswept, far out in the North Sea, between Scotland and Norway. Reference to ponies of good quality living on the islands appear in some of the earliest historical accounts.
The islanders made extensive use of the ponies, for riding, and as beasts of burden. That act outlawed child labor in British coal mines and created a demand for ShetlandPonies as pit ponies.
He brought the best of his stallions back from the mines, and they have become famous as the effective founding fathers of the modern breed. Through production of the stud book the society has regulated the breeding of ponies in such a way that ShetlandPonies around the world, excluding North America, are today still very similar to the animals that the old mine owners were working with.
You can look at photographs of, for example, Jack, Londonderry's most influential stallion, and compare them with modern champion ponies in the UK, and find very little difference. ShetlandPonies have been exported to the United States since the early 19th Century and since 1888 the American Shetland Pony Club has controlled their breeding.