What is a Shetland Pony?
The traditional Shetland pony is a compact wonder. These are the ponies we remember from faded photographs taken in the early 1900s. These are the ponies that pranced across the pages of Black Beauty as the ever loyal and wise Merry Legs. These are the same ponies many of us had a love - hate relationship with as kids, ala the Thelwell pony. As times have changed there has been pressure to change these traditional type ponies. The Shetland Pony Society of North America has been formed to maintain the integrity of this hardy breed.
The ideal Shetland pony type characteristics as outlined by the Shetland Pony Society of North America are as follows:
Height of the Shetland Pony:
Ideally, no more than 44 inches, but absolutely no more than 46 inches at four years of age as measured at the highest point of the withers to the ground by measuring stick or other SPSNA approved method.
Body Morphology of the Shetland Pony:
• A strong muscular structure and square stance.
• Head is small with proportionately rounded ears pointing forward; a broad forehead with a slightly concave face tapering to a broad muzzle and sturdy jaw with open nostrils.
• A rounded barrel with well-sprung ribs, the brisket slightly below the elbow and short coupled; proportioned withers to elbow and elbow to ground without the appearance of dwarfism. An appearance of legginess is considered undesirable.
• A defined neck and throatlatch triangular in shape.
• A sloping shoulder that forms a triangle from point of shoulder to withers to head.
• Front legs straight with sturdy, wide cannon bone.
• Hind legs straight, proportioned, and plumb from buttocks to hock to ankle with strong bone.
• Hindquarters broad with substance and wide view from the rear.
• The back is short and wide along with well-rounded buttocks.
• The mane is full and long and the tail is full and long with a natural set.
• The hoof is well rounded, hard, and dense.
• The coat is rich, thick, and of any color (except Appaloosa). Eyes of any color.
The shetland pony is steady with an even, friendly attitude; a native intelligence that is willing and trainable; an interested, hardy pony character.