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The Shetland Pony is a Very Popular Harness Pony

Shetland ponies on the Shetland Islands

Photo by D.Bachmann


The Shetland pony was created through the harsh climate and the scarce feed of the Shetland Islands, northeast off the coast of mainland Scotland. It is an extremely hardy and a small sized horse.

It is possibly related to Scandinavian ponies and the Celtic pony.

This is one of the toughest breeds and also the strongest related to its body size.

Breed characteristics:

The head is small and sits on a short, but muscular neck. Its body is compact with a short, broad back and a deep girth. The legs are short and strong. They have got a thick, long mane and tail and a very dense wintercoat. Their size reaches up to 10.2 h.h . The coatcolour can be black, chestnut, bay, brown, gray, dun, roan and palomino, cremello, champagne, pangare or silver dapple and skewbald or piebald.

The American variation of this pony breed has been bred for over 150 years and has become a very popular harness pony, too. It has got a "hooky" neck and a more refined body with longer legs. The proportions are more horselike.

Shetland ponies are gentle and good tempered ponies and very intelligent. They are very long living animals.

But if not well-trained or handled poorly they can become quite snappy and very headstrong.


It is a very popular pony for children, if mainly handled or well supervised by an adult.

As a harness pony it performs really well as a single, pair or even in a small or big team.

It makes a good show pony in hand and harness classes. And there is the Shetland Pony Grand National, where they are used for racing.

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