Today’s Horse Facts: The Highland Pony – Willing to Serve

To find the Highland Pony, hop on a plane in Iceland and fly about 600 miles southeast to Scotland, a country that’s part of the United Kingdom in Europe. The Icelanders have their Icelandic Horse; the Scots have their Highland Pony!

The Highland Pony: Willing to Serve

(To see a photo of a Highland Pony, go to

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

 (Isaiah 6:8)

To find the Highland Pony, hop on a plane in Iceland and fly about 600 miles southeast to Scotland, a country that’s part of the United Kingdom in Europe. The Icelanders have their Icelandic Horse; the Scots have their Highland Pony!

The Highland Pony is one of three breeds from the Scottish Highlands and Islands along with the Shetland Pony and the predominantly gray Eriskay (Er´ is kay) Pony. In the 16th Century, French and Spanish explorers brought horses, including Percherons (heavy draft horses), to Scotland. In the 19th Century, crossbreeding with Hackneys, Fell Ponies, and Dales Ponies gave us the Highland of today.

Because this pony survived in a tough environment of mountains and moorlands for several hundred years, he’s the largest and strongest of the native ponies in the British Isles. (A moorland is an upland habitat with low-growing vegetation on acidic soils.)  The Scots soon discovered that, besides the Highland being tough and hardy, he rarely needed shoes, and he was easy to keep. Therefore, even though the pony only stands between 13 and 14.2 hands, he became a valuable member of the workforce for farmers and lumberjacks. He also became a prized pack animal, carrying a hunter’s kill that often weighed 200 pounds. The Scots called him an “all-rounder” and valued him greatly because of his willingness to work hard, his surefootedness, and his strength.

The Highland Pony Society has strict color restrictions on its special horse; yet the pony’s colors are quite numerous. He’s mainly dun, but he can be gray, brown, black, and a dark chestnut. He can have a stripe and zebra markings on the legs along with soft, silky feathering on his feet. Other acceptable colors include “mouse,” “yellow,” cream dun, and red dun.

A coloring mark unique to the Highland is what’s called a “transverse stripe,” a streak of dark hair that crosses over the withers on both sides of the pony’s body. Colors such as pinto are not allowed. Stallions with white markings other than a small star on the forehead can’t be licensed by the Highland Pony Society, and no white markings other than a star, white legs, or white hooves are allowed in the Highland Pony show ring. Regardless of his coat color, the Highland must always have a flaxen mane and tail, which make his appearance quite handsome.

Over the centuries, the Highland has adapted to the often severe climate of Scotland, mostly due to his amazing coat very similar to the Icelandics.  The Highland’s winter coat consists of a waterproof layer of strong, thick hair over a softer yet dense undercoat. (The waterproof coat came from his Eriskay Pony.) When the coat sheds in the spring, a smoother summer coat emerges. Although the Highland is known for his toughness and hardiness, those traits are balanced by a kind attitude and easy-going temperament, willing to do whatever he’s asked. And he’s asked to do a lot!

Today the Highlands still work hard on farms in Scotland but are also valued as a prized family pony.  His other uses include logging, hauling deer carcasses from the hills, and trekking (trail riding sometimes for several days).

Wow, look at all the jobs this little pony can do! Would you agree the Highland has a willing spirit to do anything his owner asks of him? What a sweet and kind attitude he has. He has what we call a “servant’s heart”!

Would you say that you have a servant’s heart? Are you willing to do whatever is asked of you with a sweet attitude?  How about your schoolwork? Your chores around the house?

If you love Jesus and want to please Him, then you might have a servant’s heart. Someone with a servant’s heart is willing to do whatever God asks of Him. Even at your young age, you can pray and ask God if He wants to use you in a special way when you grow up.

You’re never too young to start being a Christian with a servant’s heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, today I give my life to you for service. I’m willing to do anything and go anywhere to ask of me. I thank Jesus for giving His own life for me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

What you’d be willing to do for God when you grow up? Think of some things you could do now because you love Jesus and are thankful for his salvation.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  There are only about 5,500 Highlands in the world today, most of them in Europe. Despite how popular the Highland is, he’s still categorized as “At Risk” by horse experts.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3: 23-24).

Do you love to read books about kids and horses?

Check out Book One in the Keystone Stables Series: A HORSE TO LOVE

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