Shetland Pony Horse: Complete Profile

Shetland pony is a breed of ponies that is very rough and tough. They are popular because of their cute medium structure. They are capable of doing a lot more than you can think. They have nice traits and characteristics which make them stand out among the other breed horses. Today I will tell you all about this fantastic pony including its characteristics, facts, and much more.  Read the article till the end to get complete and detailed information on the Shetland pony.  

About Shetland Pony

Shetland Ponies are one of the most loved ponies that have their unique importance. These ponies are not only strong and gentle they far smarter and willy than other ponies. They have a very gentle and friendly nature towards human beings. 

They have been widely used for riding, in horse races and to work on the farm. 

These ponies are from Scotland and thus they can withstand cold weather and have thick fur coats. The special feature of these ponies is that they have broad structure bodies which makes them exceptionally strong. 

Shetland Pony History

The Shetland breed pony originally belongs to the Shetland Isles which is situated in the northeast of Scotland. 

These ponies are said to be first crossed with the ponies bought by the Norse settlers. Later the Celtic pony was also crossed with the Shetland breed ponies between 2000 and 1000 BCE. 

Many other breeds are derived from these Scottish ponies such as the Pony of the Americas, and the Deutsches classic pony, etc.

When these horses were bred in America they had a slightly different structure. The American shetland pony is more acrobatic and has longer steps than the original Shetland breed pony. These Scottish ponies are well recognized to work in the coal mines in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

You can know the entire breeding history of the Shetland breed ponies from the Shetland Pony Studbook society.  

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Shetland Pony Size 

So now let us know the size of the Shetland pony. Shetland pony height on average is around 102 cm or 40 inches. The maximum height till which they can reach is 117 cm or 46 inches. In common language, you can say that the maximum height of these Scottish ponies is about 10.5 hands. These ponies are very long-lived and gentle in nature. 

Shetland Pony Weight

Shetland ponies are short structured and have broader bodies. The weight of these ponies is between 400 to 450 pounds but the weight varies as per the height and the age of the pony. These ponies are very strong and can carry weight up to 80 to 90lbs. 

Shetland Pony Colors

You can find a range of colors and different shetland pony color pattern in this breed of ponies. The colors that you can find include black, gray, chestnut, brown, roan, dun, cream, champagne, and palomino with different leg and face markings. The Shetlands cannot be like the Appaloosa that is like leopard-spotted. 

Shetland Pony Temperament

These Scottish ponies are very calm, gentle, and friendly with human beings. They are a bit headstrong and tend towards being uncooperative if not trained. These ponies are quite intelligent and are good with children. Sometimes, they can become stubborn if irritated for long. 

Shetland Pony Uses

Shetland breed ponies are mainly used for riding by the children for fun. They are used in many horse shows and fairs etc. They are also used to work on the farm to pull plows. These ponies are even used to pull carts or buggies and in harnesses. These Scottish ponies are used for entertainment as well and in many pony races. They have gentle behavior and thus simply can be kept as a pet.

Shetland Pony Vs Miniature Horse

Shetlands and the Miniature horses look very similar as they have small structures. It seems difficult to differentiate between the two and below I have given some of the differences between them.

  • The Shetland breed ponies as adults are slightly taller than the miniature horses.
  • The miniature horses have smooth and soft mane and tails whereas the Scottish horses have rough and thick mane and tails.
  • The coat of miniature horses is comparatively smoother and shinier than the Shetland breed ponies.
  • Miniature horses are more like pets whereas Scottish horses are used for riding, pulling, and farm works. 

Shetland Pony Facts

Now, I will tell you some interesting facts and information about the Shetlands or the Scottish ponies that you must know. 

  • The country of origin of these ponies is the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
  • They have short legs and bit a smaller size with a sturdy build and thick coats. These ponies can be said to be compact and strong.
  • Their height can be between 26 to 46 inches or 7 hands to 11.5 hands. The weight depends on the age of the pony and can be between 400 to 450 pounds.
  • The life expectancy or the life span of these ponies is 30 years or more depending on the care and maintenance.
  • There is a range of colors available in these ponies like golden, black, white, or gray, etc with markings on the leg and face. 
  • This breed is evolved from the harsh natural conditions and thus has a very strong body and can live on very little food as well.
  • These ponies are not prone to many problems or diseases but due to their short stature, they can get heart problems like Laminitis.
  • The Shetlands require regular grooming as they have a very thick and soft coat that needs to be washed, combed, and trimmed regularly.


What Is The Point Of Shetland Ponies?

The Shetland breed ponies can survive in the harsh climate and do not require much food. They are hardy animals and can be used for different purposes such as for riding, pulling carts and plowing land, etc.

Are Shetland Ponies Good Pets?

Yes, Shetland breed ponies make good pets as they are very gentle and have a calm nature. They are good with kids as well and can be used for riding and various other purposes like pulling carts and for farm work.

Why Are Shetland Ponies So Small?

The Shetland breed ponies are small as they originated in the Shetland Islands where the climate was too harsh and the food availability was less. This evolved them into small structured tough animals.

Can You Ride A Shetland Pony?

The children between the age of 2 and half years to 12 years old can ride the Shetland breed ponies. The maximum weight that these ponies can carry is 80 to 90 lbs or 36 to 40 kgs.

How Do You Identify A Shetland Pony?

The Shetland Pony is hardy and strong, in part because it developed in the harsh conditions of the Shetland Isles. It has a small head, widely spaced eyes and small and alert ears. It has a short muscular neck, a compact stocky body, short strong legs and a shorter-than-normal cannon-bone in relation to its size.

How Much Land Do 2 Shetland Ponies Need?

No you cannot. They may look small but they require a lot of space. You would require about 2 acres to keep a couple of miniature Shetlands. They would also ruin your lawn in a very short space of time!

What Is The Temperament Of A Shetland Horse?

They are generally brave and good-tempered, although they have a reputation for being opinionated and intelligent — sometimes more intelligent than their owners, which can make them a challenging first pony.


Shetland pony is a popular breed of horses known for its small and strong structure. They have a broad and compact body type with immense strength. You can find a wide range of colors in this breed of horses and they have a lush and thick mane and tail. These horses do not require special maintenance and can survive on very little food as well. They have gentle behavior and calm nature with human beings. 

You can use them for various purposes like riding, pulling boogies, and plowing, etc. The unique feature of these ponies is that they have a very long life and can live for more than 30 years. Read the article till the end so that you do not miss out on any important information and details on Shetland pony.

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How big is a full grown Shetland Pony

How big is a full grown Shetland pony