Breed Profiles - Shetland Pony

By: Horse Deals

Find out all about the Shetland Pony, including typical height, colours, conformation, temperament and ideal disciplines

Breed Profiles - Shetland Pony
Breed Profiles - Shetland Pony

Shetland pony breed summary:

Origin - Shetland Isles, north east of Scotland
Height - No bigger than 42 inches in height
Colour - Any colour except spotted
Conformation - Stocky body and the head should be small in proportion.
Ideal disciplines - Driving, showing, horse agility, child's pony

The Shetland pony originates from the Shetland Isles, located north east of Scotland. The harsh climate and a lack of fodder meant that they evolved to be extremely hardy, a characteristic that they have retained today. The Shetland pony was originally used for pulling carts and ploughing farmland. During the industrial revolution, the need for coal increased dramatically and thousands of Shetlands were exported from the Shetland Isles to become pit ponies. Today Shetlands are used as childrens ponies or for driving.


The Shetland pony should not be bigger than 42 inches in height and they can be any colour except spotted. Shetland ponies have a stocky body and the head should be small and in proportion. The Shetland has a double coat to ensure that even in the worst of the winter weather, the pony’s skin remains completely dry. In the summer, they shed the double coat and end up with a short coat that has a silky sheen. Shetlands can carry a large amount of weight compared to their small size.


Shetland ponies are very laid back and it is their docile nature that makes them perfect for children to ride. Shetlands are known for their ability to hold their own against much larger horses and will often be the herd leaders despite being much smaller in size. Shetlands are very intelligent and are eager to learn new things.

Ideal Disciplines

Shetlands are ideal for the following disciplines:

• Driving – including scurry driving

• Showing

• Horse Agility

• Child’s pony

For more information on the breed visit the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society.

If you are looking for a Shetland pony for sale, take a look at a range of adverts on the Horse Deals website >