One of the hardiest of all our native breeds, the Shetland Pony comes in all colours and a variety of heights but is not allowed to have spots.
Originally used by miners in the coal pits, these animals were shipped from the Shetland Isles to do a hard job of work.
These tiny members of the equine community have gone on to be utilised in a variety of ways. Shetlands are used very successfully in scurry driving and, of course, there is the famous Shetland Grand National held at Olympia everyyear.
Miniature Shetlands should not exceed 42 inches at the wither and with Standard Shetlands being much larger.
The most usual colour seen in the show ring is black for ridden and coloured in hand.
Shetlands can be susceptible to suffering from Laminitis if overfed. Owners must understand the harsh conditions that the ponies are used to in their native habitat and feed accordingly.
Shetland ponies can carry a fair weight and are very strong. This should be taken into consideration when purchasing a Shetland for the small child that wishes to ride off the leading rein. Due to their considerable strength, some Shetlands have been known to take advantage of their small and inexperienced riders.
Some members of the breed can nip, so temperament of these ponies is paramount, especially if they are going to be handled by children.
Many major shows and most local shows accommodate the Mountain and Moorland classes now and Shetlands are becoming increasingly successful especially with the NPS.
If you are considering ourchasing a Shetland then take a good look at your fencing. These ponies can be mini houdinis and the average post and rail fencing will not hold them in.
Many Sales are held especially for this breed and bargains can be had ranging from £250 to £2,000 for a proven Schoolmaster, this making them a very popular choice.
Breeding from miniatures is only to be attempted by the knowledgable and with help from a good Veterinary surgeon as the females produce very small foals and tiny hands are needed if problems occur.
The most expensive of this breed is a miniature female foal and these can fetch up to £1,500 at sales where other smaller childrens Mountain and Moorland breeds rarely achieve this.