Shetland Pony

Shetland Pony Breed Profile

Height 9.3 - 10.5 hands (37.4 - 42.1 inch; 95 - 107 cm)
Body Compact, square, short
Head Broad forehead, big eyes
Neck Sturdy, muscular, dense mane
Colors All; yet no pinto markings
Temperament Friendly, gentle, strong-minded, independent, intelligent
Gait Elastic
Type Pony
Origin Scotland
Bred since 1890
Suited for Leisure riding, therapy, carriage pony

The Mini Horse

Is there anything sweeter than a Shetland Pony? The small horses are so cute and lovable that you simply have to instantly take them into your heart. With their thick and cuddly coat they brave cold and wet weather and are rather undemanding, tough and persistent.

History: From Pit Pony to Leisure Horse

In the middle of the 19th century, Shetland Ponies were used as pit ponies in mines. They had to pull heavy carts underground. Fortunately they are allowed to freely and happily gallop over green meadows again today.

Shetland Pony Shetland Pony - Photo: Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Character: Gentle and Sociable

Shetland Ponies have a big heart and are known for their gentle, friendly and sociable temper. They are particularly suitable for kids. Sometimes they might be a little stubborn (they simply want to get their own way), but they never lose their temper. This is the reason why Shetland ponies also serve as a therapy horses.

Record: The World’s Strongest Horse

Shetland Ponies have short but very strong legs. They can pull twice their own weight and carry up to 132 lb (60 kg). In relation to their size, they are therefore the world’s strongest horses. For comparison: A large, heavy coldblooded horse can only pull half of its own weight.

Record: The Longest Tail

The world’s longest tail has a Shetland Pony called „Golden Shante“ or „Topper“. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2010), its tail is 13.3 ft (4.08 m) long.

Shetland Pony Shetland Pony - Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Breed Variety: Mini-Shetty

Mini Shetland Ponies do not get larger than 87 cm (hands high). With the Falabella and the American Miniature Horse, they are among the world’s smallest ponies. Because of their handy size, mini shetties are also used as guide ponies for the blind. Their advantage: They can get much older than guide dogs. Yet, their training takes longer.

Where Does The Name Come From?

Shetland Ponies are named after their home, the Scottish Shetland Islands.

Did You Know?

  • Normally, horses and ponies reach an age of 20 - 30 years. The Shetland Pony Madame Nou from Berlin obviously enjoyed its life so much that it became even older: At an age of 50 years it was the world’s oldest living pony in 2013. It narrowly escaped the butcher because horse lovers saved it. So Madame Nou died in 2013 because of its high age. About 1,500 kids learned to ride on Madame Nou. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sugar Puff was the oldest pony, a Shetland Exmoor Pony. It died in 2007 at an age of 56 years.

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Shetland Pony Shetland Pony - Photo: Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock