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Are Shetland Ponies Intelligent

author
Carole Stephens
• Tuesday, 01 December, 2020
• 14 min read

Small horses have been kept in the Shetland Isles since the Bronze Age. People who lived on the islands probably later crossed the native stock with ponies imported by Norse settlers.

shetland ponies around triangle versatile intelligent breed halter performance going american easy standing
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Contents

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. 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.

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(Source: www.thriftyfun.com)

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.

^ Reid, C. “Women unloading seats from Richie”. ^ The Last Pony Mine, a documentary film, Les Benedict, director, Steve Knudsen, producer, 1972.

dark brown ponies shetland behind camera
(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

^ Elise Rousseau, Yann Le Boris, Teresa Lavender Pagan (2017). The harsh conditions of the isles encouraged them to become extremely hardy, and they sport a heavy coat, are intelligent and have characteristic short and sturdy legs.

Their characteristics make them well-suited to hard work with the breed having a strong history of pulling carts and sloughing land on the islands. In the Industrial Revolution the breed was imported to Britain in their thousands to serve in the coal mines as pit ponies.

They will be perfectly happy with an acre of paddock each and a friend for company, access to a shelter and an automatic drinking trough. ShetlandPonies are intelligent animals requiring a decent amount of work and exercise in order to stay happy.

They can be taught to jump small obstacles and you’ll know how competitive they are if you’ve seen one of the Shetland pony grand nationals often held at family race days, country shows or Equestrian events. Shetlands are susceptible to the same diseases that their larger relatives suffer, but due to their size they are more prone to certain conditions.

Personal injury cover is available for adults and children so take a look at our comparison table for more information on the options available. It is more common in older horses and can be spotted by an array of symptoms including a change in body shape (such as loss of muscle or the formation of a potbelly), a lack of energy, formation of fat deposits along the neck and over the tail, increased drinking and urination, recurring infections, abnormal sweating and sometimes blindness.

shetland pony ponies horse pulling stallion american strong wikimedia know things ihearthorses breed coal wikipedia peat plowing farmland carrying cars
(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Mini horses are more prone to skeletal problems, such as dislocated joints, malformed bones (particularly in the shoulder) and osteoarthritis. Regular exercise and keeping a close eye on their diet and weight will help prevent these conditions and will limit the discomfort of those ponies that suffer from such conditions, but always consult your vet for bespoke advice if you believe your Shetland suffers from skeletal problems.

It occurs when the blood flow to the laminae (the inner layers of the hooves) is disrupted, causing inflammation and swelling, and severe pain. Warning signs of laminates include noticeable discomfort when walking (and the horse may prefer to lie down rather than stand), visible lameness, increased pulse in the foot, and in some cases a habit of leaning back on the hind feet in order to relieve pressure on the front feet.

If you notice any signs of laminates, it is crucial that you call a vet immediately for a diagnosis and treatment plan. In their native islands, Shetland ponies will eat seaweed that washes up on the beaches when grazing is scarce.

Ridden by young, aspiring jockeys these ponies show a competitive streak when given a chance! Although diminutive, Shetlands are strong, intelligent, gentle, and a bit wily.

These are hardy little ponies that are capable of outworking the largest draft horse. The true origin of the Shetland pony has been lost to time.

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(Source: findingourwaynow.com)

As many as 4,000 years ago, ponies were roaming the rugged Shetland Islands off Scotland. Resilient and strong, Shetland ponies were used to pull carts and plow farmland, among other jobs.

The Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society formed in 1890 to register and keep track of the breed. The weight of a Shetland pony depends on its height but generally is around 400 to 450 pounds.

Westend61/Getty Images In the harsh climate of their native land, with scarce food and rugged terrain, Shetland ponies developed into very hardy animals. They have thick coats that help them withstand frigid winters, and their broad bodies make them exceptionally strong.

Besides the immense strength in their small bodies, Shetland ponies also are known for their long lifespans, with many living more than 30 years. Because the breed evolved in such harsh conditions and had to search for nutrition, Shetlands can thrive on very little food.

They require standard equine grooming of regular washing, brushing, and combing. And their hooves ideally should be checked daily for dirt, debris, and any injuries.

shetland pony wikipedia horse wiki animal
(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

For instance, a pony named Wiglet died in 2017 at age 50. In a 1976 Disney movie called The Littlest Horse Thieves,” three children plot to steal ponies from a mine after they find out the ponies are set to be killed as the mine is mechanized.

Even-tempered Shetland ponies are good for owners and riders of all experience levels, including families with children, though they can be stubborn and require consistent training. They do well in cold, rugged climates like their native Shetland Islands.

But owners must pay attention to their nutrition and avoid overfeeding, which can lead to laminates and obesity, among other health problems. The price typically increases for breeder ponies, especially when they can trace their purebred lineage.

A quality rescue group or breeder should be transparent with you about the pony’s disposition, health status, and history. Feeling rushed to make a decision could be a red flag that the organization isn't acting in the best interest of the animal.

HorsePonyHeightOver 14.2Under 14.2Coat and HairFineCoarse, thick coat, and thick mane, and tail Head and Neck Long head and neck with large ears and eyes Short head and neck with large eyes and tiny earsBodyProportionateStocky, and broad, round chestLegsLongShort legs with hardy hoovesFeedingVaries by breeders keepersBone Varies by breadstick, dense bonesTemperamentVaries by breed Intelligent, friendly, but can be cunningOriginsVaries by freehold European Climates Ponies and horses have several differences and similarities. Ponies typically have thick coats, manes, and tails, while horses’ hair is much more delicate.

shetland ponies pony 1890 export however number many
(Source: www.northlinkferries.co.uk)

Ponies and horses are members of Equus Catullus species, so they do have a lot in common. Quick links: The most apparent differences between ponies and horses are their height.

The standard rule is under 14.2 hands, and the equine is a pony, over 14.2, and the animal is a horse, but in reality, it’s not that simple. Most pony breeds originate from cold climates areas with rough terrains.

Through the evolutionary process, they developed thick hair and coats that insulate them and keep them warm even in frigid climates. A ponies coat is relatively thick year-round but adds extra protection during cold seasons.

Most horses, on the other hand, have thin coats in the summer and only grow denser hair during cold seasons. Some horses don’t develop hair thick enough to protect against frigid weather adequately.

Thin coats are especially prevalent in breeds that originate in warm climates, such as the Arabian and Akhil Take’s. It typically refers to bone length, thickness, joint angles, and overall equine balance.

shetland pony ponies breeds smallest horse miniature draft field native strong
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Ponies can pull loads of great weight, and some can even haul as much as large draft horses. Bodies Ponies have a round barrel chest with a broad, sprung rib cage.

Even giant draft breeds don’t display the thickness of a pony. The test is limited to one horse breed, but it gives us at least one scientific sample to confirm our theory.

Horses require higher quantities of protein and more minerals than a pony to maintain their health. These conditions led to ponies ability to survive on low-quality forage, and thick coats to fend off the cold.

They make great equines for beginner riders and are an outstanding addition to most farms. Horses are not as easy to generalize; each breed exhibits distinct personality traits.

Shetland ponies originated from the harsh Shetland islands off the northern coast of Scotland. Shetland ponies roots run deep on the islands, there’s evidence of their existence going back four thousand years.

shetland ponies scotland pony islands coast possibly north most loveable brings mind its devonvisitor
(Source: www.britainallover.com)

These animals were ideally suited for the tasks, and they were small enough to easily navigate tunnels yet strong enough to pull carts burdened with heavy loads coal. The native ponies were crossbred to Arabian, Thoroughbreds, and Hackney horse in the Middle Ages to create the Welsh cobs.

The early Connemara ponies were hybrid offsprings of Spanish horses and local Irish mares. However, today’s ponies likely include Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Hackney bloodlines.

The foundation stud was the offspring of a cross between a Shetland pony stallion and an Arabian/Appaloosa mare. For some breeds, it’s difficult to distinguish if they are a pony or a horse because the animals fit the requirements of both classifications.

The final word on if an animal is a “horse” or “pony” is left to the respective breed registries. But the Icelandic people absolutely consider their breed is a horse and not ponies.

In support of their position, they urge the equines’ genetic makeup, intelligence, and strength, which they say all point to these animals being horses. Scandinavian Vikings introduced the ancestors to the present-day Icelandic horses to the island.

shetland pony wikipedia
(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Walk, trot, gallop, which are standard in all horse breeds, but they also have two more speeds, told, and flying pace. Horses executing these different gaits at expert levels is highly desired.

The Icelandic horse is spirited with a gentle temperament and is not easily spooked. Iceland doesn’t have natural equine predators; because of this, the animals have a calm demeanor and are approachable.

Ninety percent of all Fjord horses are dun, and most have thick upright manes. Another exciting feature is they exhibit primitive markings, and their manes have a dark center line resembling a stripe.

Traditionally owners of Fjord horses clip their manes, which makes it easier to care for but also exposes their distinct stripe. The Fjord horse has a thick coat that protects against the rough winters in the cold mountainous regions of Norway.

Much like a pony, the Fjord horses are hardy, strong, and easy keepers. Their bones are thick and body compact, they also have superior strength considering their small stature.

pony shetland ponies lessons findingourwaynow story well
(Source: findingourwaynow.com)

Fjords, like ponies, are easy keepers.” They gain weight quickly and thrive on relatively little food. Harbingers are a versatile horse breed used for pulling carts, endurance riding, and even dressage.

They are also powerful, and these small animals have no problem carrying a full-sized rider or a loaded wagon with ease. Harbingers are intelligent and similar to a pony; they act stubbornly and become challenging to work when guided by an inexperienced hand.

They can survive without shelter, the frigid climates of Siberia, where temperatures reach -95 degrees Fahrenheit. They are known to find grass buried under deep snow with their exceptional sense of smell.

In the harshest winters, the diet is supplemented with feed by the local Sakha people. The Yakutsk horse gives back to the local people by providing milk and as a source of meat.

They have six divisions of harness exhibition, including pleasure driving, roadster, and cob tail. Each year they hold their world’s championship competition at Kentucky’s state fair.

pony shetland horse rijden brown activities robes base pasture germany meet sean martin author rides grazing miniature sommariva frank getty
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Besides the healthy hooves and a small head, there are not many pony characteristics remaining in the breed. However, the breed originates in England from crossbreeding Arabian horses and Welsh ponies.

They have refined bones, thin coats, and lean bodies, more reflective of their Arabian ancestors than their thicker Welsh relatives. This breed is roots trace back to ancient France, where they lived in the wild marshes and wetlands.

These small hardy horses always have a gray coat color and black skin. They have a compact build, with strong limbs, a short neck, and a deep rounded chest They can easily carry grown adults.

The animals have large bones, small ears, and strong hooves like many pony breeds. The Cam argue could pass for either species of equine; it has characteristics of both ponies and horses.

Their heads are small, and they have thick coats with long coarse manes and tails. The use of Indian pony is just slang and not related to actual breed characteristics.

shetland ponies hair pony scotland shetlands
(Source: www.britainallover.com)

Appaloosa has a colorful spotted coat pattern that makes it easy to distinguish. It’s difficult to gauge how long they’ve been in existence precisely, but depictions of them were etched in the walls of caves in France during the Stone Age.

Ponies and horses are members of Equus Catullus species, and have a lot of common traits. The breed registries decide if an animal should be classified as a pony or a horse.

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Sources
1 www.horseforum.com - https://www.horseforum.com/threads/blanket-size-for-weanling.313281/
2 kensingtonproducts.com - https://kensingtonproducts.com/products/weanling-all-around-1200denier-medium-weight-turnout
3 www.etsy.com - https://www.etsy.com/c/home-and-living/bedding/blankets-and-throws
4 www.minitack.com - https://www.minitack.com/horse-clothing/sheets/2322/
5 www.shape.com - https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/best-weighted-blankets
6 www.personalizationmall.com - https://www.personalizationmall.com/Blankets-c86.lp
7 www.tackwholesale.com - https://www.tackwholesale.com/products/derby-originals-reflective-600d-safety-no-hardware-ripstop-breathable-waterproof-nylon-winter-foal-blanket