Few breeds have such a long and diversified history as the American Shetland Pony. The American Shetland descended from the very old breed native to the Scottish Shetland Islands. When America developed its coal industry in the 1800s, Shetland ponies were imported to work in the mines. Mechanization in this century has ended the pony's mining career. Today, the American Shetland Pony has been bred with an eye for appearance in the show ring. It is now a polished animal possessing an elegant gait with high-stepping action. The American Shetland has become an extremely valuable horse. Prices for top-quality examples of the breed sometimes reach five figures.
The American Shetland Pony is outstanding for its small size. To be registered, the mature pony must not exceed 46 inches (11.2 hands) in height. It averages 42 inches (10.2 hands) and can be as short as only 26 inches. This pony is found in a variety of colors, from dun and roan to bay and black. The American Shetland has been strongly infused with Hackney Pony blood. It has a refined head, sometimes almost "Arabian" in appearance. The body is compact and muscular, yet smooth, and the legs are clean. Sometimes for shows, long false hooves and false tails are fitted. Some Shetlands in America still resemble the shaggy little British Shetland.
The American Shetland Pony is descended from ponies which have lived in the Shetland Islands off the northern Scottish coast since the Bronze Age. Shetland Ponies were brought to America originally to work in coal mines in the 1800s. They are now found throughout the United States and Canada. In America, many have been bred with Hackney ponies and have an appearance more like that breed than its shaggy island ancestors.
The price range for American Shetland ponies is immense. In some areas, one can acquire a sound pony for very little money. On the other hand, prices can be extremely high. For instance, a stallion named Frisco Pete, who was six times National Champion in the Halter Class, was syndicated for $91,000. In all, 131,000 American Shetlands have been registered since the 1870s. There are now almost 40,000 American Shetland ponies registered in America.
1. Celtic Pony 2. Shetland Pony 3. Hackney 4. Welsh Pony
For more information:
American Shetland Pony Club