Last Updated on April 13, 2023
Shetland ponies are so small that some are no taller than a large dog! But when it comes to Shetland pony weight, these little equines are heavier than you might expect.
The Shetland pony is one of the smallest pony breeds in the world, but they are also incredibly strong for their size. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Shetland pony weight, size, and other essential characteristics.
What Are Shetland Ponies?
The Shetland pony comes from the remote Shetland Isles, which sit 110 miles north of Scotland. These islands are part of Scotland and are located further north than the Scottish Orkney Islands. The environment on the Shetland Isles is harsh, which had a large influence on the development of this pony.
Shetland ponies are small, hardy, and can survive the sparse, cold, 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.
The average height of a Shetland pony is between 8 and 10.2 hands tall. However, you do get exceptions where some are smaller or taller.
The main Shetland pony breed society, The Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society, was set up in the United Kingdom in 1890. Shortly before this, in 1888, The American Shetland Pony Club was formed to keep track of the increasing popularity of these ponies in America.
What Is The Maximum Height For A Horse Registered In The American Shetland Pony Club?
American Shetland ponies have their own branch of breed standards. These ponies are more refined and have longer legs than the traditional ponies from Scotland.
In the UK, Shetland ponies are eligible for stud book registration provided they are no taller than 42 inches high. In contrast, the American stud book allows Shetland ponies that are up to 46 inches tall to be registered.
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, muscular 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. The huge bushy mane and forelock of a Shetland pony is normally a big giveaway!
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 often possible to adopt a Shetland pony as unfortunately, due to their size, they have limited uses and end up at rescue centers. However, adopting a Shetland is a wonderful way to give one a great home if you want a family pet or child’s riding pony.
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 not to let them get overweight.
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 obesity, which leads to insulin resistance. It can also be caused by Cushing’s disease, which commonly affects older Shetland ponies.
Other health issues that are common in Shetland ponies are dental issues and problems with the heart. Your Shetland pony will need regular attention from a qualified equine dentist to keep the teeth in good condition. Other than this, the Shetland is a hardy pony that is built for outdoor survival.
Shetland Pony Characteristics
Shetland ponies are very strong for their size. At one time, these ponies worked in mines, helping to haul coal around. Their strength and size made them well suited for this type of job.
These tiny yet powerful creatures were also very useful for working on crofts in the Shetland Isles. They could haul and carry heavy loads, such as turf and peat cut for fuel.
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, which is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime!
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. However, they also come with palomino, pinto, dun, and creme coat colors.
Any color of Shetland pony can be registered with the relevant breed society, with the exception of spotted markings. Pinto markings are becoming increasingly widespread amongst the Shetland population, but champagne and cremello coloring remains very rare.
Any type of white leg and face markings are permitted for registration, but these are more common on pinto Shetland ponies than solid colored ones.
How Long Do Shetland Ponies Live?
As with dogs, the smaller horses are, the longer their lifespan tends to be. So, larger warmbloods often have a much shorter lifespan than small ponies such as the Shetland!
It is not uncommon for Shetland ponies to live well beyond the age of 30, with many reaching their 40th birthday. However, older Shetland ponies can have many medical problems, with many of them suffering from Cushing’s disease and poor dental health.
Shetland Pony Uses
Today, the Shetland pony is commonly used as a mount for small children. The size is not intimidating to children and they are small enough for younger children to handle and groom. However, it is important that the pony is well trained, as it will use its cheeky, independent streak to try and do what it wants.
Although adults cannot ride Shetland ponies, many people enjoy using the Shetland as a driving pony. There are even competitions for specific types of driving, with obstacle courses and timed sections.
Shetland pony owners can also enter their ponies in showing competitions, where they are judged on their physical appearance and attributes. To find out the Shetland pony showing requirements in your area, speak to your local Shetland pony breed society.
Finally, the Shetland is simply a great pet for humans. They love to spend time in human company, and can be a rewarding and lovable pet. However, it is not advisable to keep a Shetland pony alone, as they need the companionship of another horse.
The small size of Shetlands makes them good companions for larger horses as they don’t cost a lot to keep and are less likely to injure them. At any equestrian event you are likely to see a Shetland pony that has just gone along for the ride to keep its larger equine buddy company!
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.
Do Shetland ponies get cold?
Shetland ponies are small breed of ponies originally from the Shetland Islands, which are located in the northernmost part of Scotland in the North Sea. The climate is cold and harsh there but Shetland ponies are bred to deal with cold and wet weather, and they enjoy it.
They are generally considered hardy animals and can survive the harsh conditions of their home island. They are born outside and live their whole life outside. They are known to be very protective of their young and will fiercely attack any animal that comes too close to them and their offspring.
How big does a Shetland pony get?
The Shetland is the smallest breed of horse, with the exceptions of dwarf ponies resulting from genetic mutation. The breed is characterized by its thick coat, distinctive facial markings and small stature. The average height of a Shetland pony is about 102 centimeters (40 inches) tall and can vary between 86 and 118 centimeters (34 and 45 inches) high.
Shetland ponies are used for riding, show, driving, pulling carts, farm work and general trail riding. They are gentle, friendly, intelligent and very trainable.
What weight can a Shetland pony pull?
The Shetland Pony is the strongest of all horse and pony breeds, regarding it’s size. It’s used in everything from farming to riding. The breed is known for its ability to carry a heavy load that can weigh up to 130 pounds. In fact, some Shetland ponies can pull twice their own weight while a draft horse can only pull half its own weight in average.
Are Shetland ponies hardy?
Shetland ponies are a type of pony which originates in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are small, hardy animals that have been used for centuries as working animals, including pulling carts and plows. In Shetland, they are known as “The Ponies” and are usually kept on the islands of Shetland and Orkney.
These ponies are hardy, strong, and especially long-lived. Unlike most other ponies and horses, they can stay outside during winter and Scottish winters are known to be very rough. They are resilient and very hardy and also exceptionally strong for their size.
How much does a Shetland pony foal weigh?
Foals of any breed weigh approximately 10% of their mothers weight at birth. Shetland pony weight ranges from 300 to 500 pounds, therefore a Shetland pony foal will weigh somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds at birth.
Do Shetland ponies bite?
Ponies are generally easy-going, docile animals that are well-mannered and do not show any aggressive behavior towards people. However, some ponies have been known to display aggressive behavior in certain situations, such as when wanting to assert their dominance or when feeling threatened. However, they’re not dangerous. In most cases, the most aggressive they get is nipping and it doesn’t pose any serious threat to humans.
Shetland ponies are docile, friendly, and easily trained animals. These ponies are known for their calm demeanor and friendly temperament. They are very affectionate towards their owners and other ponies. Their intelligence, obedience, and calm disposition makes them an ideal companion for children.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.