The Shetland pony inhabits the Shetland Islands off Northern Scotland although the exact origins are unclear. Shetland ponies were used as pit ponies and also used for pulling carts of peat and seaweed. The first written record of the Shetland pony was in 1603 in the Court Books of Shetland. The Shetland pony became the first pony to have its own breed society with the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society being formed in 1890.
Today, Shetlands are used as children's riding ponies, are shown by both children and adults at horse shows in harness driving classes as well as for pleasure driving outside of the show ring. Shetlands are ridden by small children, and are sometimes are used for Therapeutic horseback riding purposes. In the United Kingdom, they are also featured in the Shetland Pony Grand National, galloping around a racecourse with young jockeys.
Miniature shetlands have been trained as guide horses to take the same role as guide dogs. This task is also performed by other miniature horse breeds.
Shetland Ponies are hardy and strong, in part because the breed developed in the harsh conditions of the Shetland Isles.They have a short broad back and deep girth and a springy stride. Shetlands have long thick manes and tails and a dense double winter coat to withstand harsh weather. Different breed registries have different height standards, but the outside ranges are between a minimum of 7 hands and 9 hands (28 to 36 inches) for miniatures.
Shetlands can be almost every colour, but are mainly black, chestnut, bay, brown, gray, palomino, dun, roan, cremello, and silver dapple. Dula is a dark bay, however Hamish varies between black to grey at different times during the year!
Shetland ponies are generally gentle, good-tempered, and very intelligent by nature. They make good children's ponies, and are sometimes noted for having a "brave" character, but can be very opinionated or "cheeky", and, if not handled properly, can be impatient, snappy, and sometimes become uncooperative, traits often lumped under the label "stubborn" by those who fail to understand that pony behavior is influenced by the quality of human handling. Due in part to their intelligence and size, they are easily spoiled and can be very headstrong if not well-trained.
For its size, the Shetland is the strongest of all horse and pony breeds. It can pull twice its own weight under circumstances where a draft horse can only pull approximately half its own weight!
Many ponies are long-lived and it is not unusual for a Shetland pony to live more than 30 years.
You can take a ride on Dula in the Summer Season (1st April - 30th September) for toddlers of age 3-6 yrs. Just give us a ring to make your booking!