Today’s Horse Facts: The Shetland Pony

Shetland Ponies can be ridden, driven, or just be your best miniature equine furfriend.


Today’s Horse Facts: The Shetland Pony

Beautiful Shetland Pony


If you started riding horses when you were a wee little tyke, then you might have started your equine career on the back of a Shetland Pony.  But do you know what distinguishes this breed from other pony breeds? What’s so different about them? They are cute but they have some unique characteristics that sometimes might get in the way of your having a good time with them. What about their temperament? Or their size? If you’re a tall or heavy kid, you might not “fit” on a Shetland Pony!

Let’s take our T/F quiz and see how well you know the Shetland Pony breed:

  1. These ponies originated from the Bronze Age in the Shetland Isles, located northeast of the mainland of Scotland.
  2. They were first used to pull carts carrying children of kings, nobles, and wealthy people.
  3. They were known as “pit ponies” in the mines of Britain in the mid-nineteenth century.
  4. The Shetland was brought to America in the late 1700s.
  5. There are different divisions of Shetlands including one called a Classic.
  6. Classics can not be taller than 46 inches (about 10.2 hands) at the withers.
  7. Although the breed has been known for its stubbornness, excellent breeding has refined the Shetland’s personality so that it makes a nice pony for kids.
  8. They can be any color or combination of colors.
  9. The Shetland’s typical look is furry with a big round belly.
  10. In shows, they are only in driving classes.


  1. T
  2. F   They were first used to pull carts carrying peat, other goods, and to plow farmland.
  3. T
  4. F   They came to America in the late 1800s.
  5. T
  6. T
  7. T
  8. F  They cannot be appaloosa.
  9. F   Some divisions are like that, but some have been bred to be sleek and thin, some with arched necks.
  10. F   They enter many classes of driving, halter, and riding competition.
What a Fun Ride!

So, did you know much about this strong little pony who can pull twice his own weight? Have you ever ridden one? Have you ever owned one?

It’s my guess that you’ve ridden a Shetland at fairs or carnivals when you were a real little kid. I remember those times when my parents took me to places like that; the first thing I wanted to do was ride the ponies. And I had quite a few rides on the same one when I was about ten years old. The pony’s name was Sugar, and I loved him dearly. I rode him at a riding academy for an hour on a Sunday afternoon when my mother took me to the Double J Bar Ranch outside of Cressona,PA, once in a while. I rubbed my hands real hard on the pony so that I had his smell on my hands. Then I didn’t wash my hands for the rest of the day.

So I must admit, my first link with any equines at all was with Shetlands, and I’ve loved horses, and their smell, ever since!

Marsha on Sugar

To learn more about the fantastic little Shetlands, go to:

Next time, we’ll have a look at the gorgeous Palomino.

Happy riding!


7 thoughts on “Today’s Horse Facts: The Shetland Pony

  1. Wow, that’s a Shetland at the top? That pinto looks a lot bigger, but it’s hard to tell without the rider. Love that childhood photo. I have one of those and my dad and I are wearing cowboy/cowgirl hats. In fact, I was riding my quarter horse, Frisky, which was a pinto and lived up to his name. Fun!

  2. I’m researching on horses I didn’t know the history of shetland ponies. Nice pictures, and good information!

  3. I’ve watched a show called Heartland and a shetland pony in the show was named sugarfoot! I’ve always wanted a life around horses and ponies and I hope I can sometime soon.

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