Buying a Shetland Pony

Points to consider

All our ponies are miniature shetlands meaning they are up to 34″ height. Standard shetlands are up to 42″. The breed is one of the oldest having been in existence on the Shetland Islands for over 2000 years The harsh climate there led to their development into a very hardy pony. It is one of the purest breeds because of its isolation on the islands and also because of the preservation by the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society. All our ponies are registered and passported with them. In the mid 19th century many ponies came to mainland Britain to become pit ponies.

Pit pony

Shetland Attributes

A good shetland should be in proportion, have a small head and ears that are wide set and pointing forward. The forehead should be broad with bold intelligent eyes. The muzzle broad with wide open nostrils. The body should be strong with lots of heart room, the quarters broad and long with the tail set high. Legs should have good flat bone with a short balanced cannon bone. Hocks should be well shaped, neither too hooky or too straight. The hind legs should neither be too wide set or too turned in. A pony should move straight, tracking up well, meaning the hind foot steps into the forefoot print. 

Generally, an essential feature is its presence and robustness. Temperament is very important, especially as many shetlands become children’s ponies. Some people have a view that all shetlands are naughty but we often have people come and say “oh aren’t they good” … we believe early discipline and not feeding treats is a big factor in a pony’s temperament. Of course foals can be nibbly, like babies putting everything in their mouths but as we handle them more we teach them good manners but their ongoing education needs continuing in their new homes.

How much weighting you place on each of these factors of course depends on whether you are looking for a showing pony or, say a companion, of course. 

When you go to view a pony, we recommend you see it in the field and see that it is friendly and will come to you and can be caught. Some foals can be shy initially when very young as their mums are protective and teach their youngsters to be wary but with the daily contact we have found they soon learn to trust us (as their mums relax too). Have a look in the pony’s mouth to check teeth alignment too. We would always point out if we felt there were any issues with a pony – most sellers do but be mindful not all are forthcoming.

Think long and hard about the commitment and whether you have the facilities for a pony – adequate grazing, natural shelter or a stable/field shelter, cover for holidays. However,  if everything is in place and if you’re like me, you most definitely won’t have any regrets!

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  • Kettlesnout, Ripponden, West Yorks. HX6 4PA
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