The Shetland pony is so small that some are no taller than a large dog but probably a whole lot heavier, so how much does a Shetland pony weigh? The Shetland pony is one of the smallest breeds but it is larger than a miniature horse. Let’s take a look at the mighty little pony’s size, weight, and characteristics.
The Shetland pony comes from the remote Shetland Isles, which sit 110 miles north of Scotland. They are part of Scotland and further north than the Scottish Orkney Islands. The environment here is harsh, which had a large influence on the development of this pony.
Shetland ponies are small, hardy, and can survive the sparse, wet climate of the islands. They grow extremely thick winter coats that protect them and don’t need large amounts of food. Their small size also makes them better adapted to survive there.
Evidence shows that small ponies have lived on the Shetland Isles since at least the Bronze Age. This makes it very hard to uncover the origins of these ponies. Before the industrial revolution, Shetland ponies did work on farms, helping with plowing and pull carts.
A Shetland Pony stands between 8 and 10.2 hands tall. Though, you do get exceptions where some are smaller or taller.
The first breed society, The Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society set up in 1890. Shortly before this, in 1888, The American Shetland Pony Club was set up to keep track of the increasing popularity of the ponies in America.
American Shetland ponies have their own branch of breed standards. The ponies have more refinement and longer legs than the traditional ponies from Scotland.
How Much Does A Shetland Pony Weigh
Despite its short stature, a Shetland pony can weigh between 400 and 450 pounds. This is due to their stocky bodies. If you compare a Shetland to a Miniature horse they have much thicker necks, wider backs and haunches, and thicker tails.
A miniature horse can weigh much less than a Shetland at 150 to 350 pounds. They also have more refined features that resemble a horse and not a pony. It is a common mistake to confuse a Shetland pony for a Miniature horse.
However, once you have an understanding of their features, you will easily spot which one is which.
Shetland Pony Price
As far as equines go, the Shetland pony is not expensive to buy. Most sell for between $500 and $1,500 dollars. If you are buying a show pony with a long history of breeding and records, it will cost more.
It is also possible to adopt a Shetland pony as unfortunately due to their size they, have limited uses and end up with rescues. However, this is a wonderful way to give one a great home if you want a family pet.
How Much Is A Shetland Pony
In addition to the cost of buying a Shetland pony, you will have ongoing expenses for its care. This will last as long as the pony lives, which is often longer than a large horse. One of the oldest known Shetland ponies, Twiglet, died in 2017 at the age of 50!
You will have annual health expenses for vaccinations, worming, and checkups, which cost around $300 a year. You will also have to have a farrier trim the hooves every 6 to 8 weeks at a cost of around $30 per trim. It is rare to put shoes on a Shetland pony.
Feeding A Shetland Pony
Shetland ponies, having adapted to the rough conditions of their origin, are easy to keep. However, you do need to manage their food carefully. They have a tendency to get overweight, which can cause serious health problems.
The majority of Shetland ponies do not need grain. They need quality but not overly rich hay. It is also important to make sure they do not eat too much rich grass. Rough, poor grass grazing is the best.
While these ponies do not need a lot in the way of food, which makes them cheap to feed, you do have to take care.
One of the major health issues that affect Shetland ponies is laminitis. Laminitis is a very serious condition that causes inflammation in the hooves and can lead to pedal bone rotation. It causes the horse excruciating pain.
The main cause of laminitis is overeating grain or rich grass. Another health issue that is common in the Shetland pony is problems with the heart. Other than these, the Shetland is a sturdy pony that is built for outdoor survival.
Shetland Pony Characteristics
The Shetland pony is very strong for its size. At one time, the pony worked in mines helping to haul coal around. Their strength and size made them well suited for this type of job.
Temperament-wise, the Shetland is clever and not spooky. However, it has an independent streak, which can make them stubborn. Their cleverness aids them in their unique ability to escape their enclosures.
One of the highlights of the Olympia Horse Show in London is the Shetland Pony Grand National. Check out the fun here.
Shetland Pony Color
The Shetland pony comes in several colors. The majority of them are common colors, such as bay, chestnut, grey, black, and brown. But they also come with palomino, pinto, dun, and creme coat colors.
Shetland Pony Uses
Today, the Shetland pony is a good mount for small children. The size is not intimidating to children. It is just important that the pony is well trained, as it will use its cheeky, independent streak to try and do what it wants.
Adults enjoy using the Shetland as a driving pony. There are even competitions for this type of driving. Finally, the Shetland is simply a great pet for humans.
They also make good companions for horses as they don’t cost a lot to keep and are less likely to injure them.
To summarize how much does a Shetland pony weigh, it is safe to say these ponies weigh between 400 and 450 pounds. For horse lovers that just want a pet, they are great companions for the family. They have good temperaments, despite their tendency for independent thinking.
However, with their small size, they are pretty easy to handle, even for children. The key to this is good consistent training.
Is the Shetland pony one of your favorite breeds? Let us know in the comments.