Shetland Pony Description
Nowadays, horses are less and less used as a means of transportation or traction. Most often, artiodactyls can be found in various sports or areas of entertainment. The latter are almost impossible without horses like a pony. This horse attracts human attention with its miniature dimensions, but the physical characteristics of a small horse can argue with many heavy trucks. One of the most famous breeds of this subspecies of horses is the Shetland pony, which is also the oldest representative of this species.
Shetland Pony Range
Shetland ponies are considered to have the Shetland ponies northeast of Scotland as their native habitat. It is to this severe archipelago that small horses owe their name. The climate of the islands is quite tough: cold winds and high humidity hardened the body of horses. Also, dense fogs are characteristic of this area. The temperature of the islands does not exceed 20 ° C.
Nowadays, the Shetland pony is popular around the world. Most often, these stallions work in recreational areas, but some farmers still use the traction qualities of working horses as an alternative to another traction animal - a donkey.
There was also a place for ponies in equestrian sport: at first they were used exclusively as training horses for small riders, but over time they began to hold competitions with mini-horses.
Appearance of Shetland Pony
A purebred Shetland pony has clearly defined regulatory requirements for the exterior. The head of an adult should be small relative to the body and have a sloping straight profile. The pony's ears are small and high set at a right angle. The nostrils are wide in size, and the eyes are mostly brown in color.
The neck of the Shetland mount is medium in length, the body is massive and well muscled. The withers are well defined, the back is short. The legs relative to the body are short, have pronounced joints and strong low hooves.
Shetland pony has a very dense hairline. The mane and tail of animals grow very quickly, thereby protecting vulnerable parts of the body from strong winds.
In winter, the coat of horses is thick, with a warm undercoat, so these babies tolerate cold and strong winds well. The density of the hairline protects the horses from the increased humidity of their natural habitats.
In summer, stallions begin to molt, so the breed tolerates air temperatures up to 25 ° C.
According to exterior standards, the color of purebred Shetland horses should be black or bay, but since the breed was bred exclusively for work in agriculture, they did not pay attention to the color of the animal, so pinto and red stallions are found.
The growth at the withers of Shetland horses should be slightly more than a meter. 7 cm are allowed above the norm, but each subsequent centimeter indicates impurities of other rocks.
By physical characteristics, these little horses are not inferior to large heavy trucks. Ponies can carry loads that are many times their own weight. Their tremendous traction was the primary goal of the breeders. In addition, the Shetland pony has such physical qualities as:
Due to the body structure, Shetland ponies are not considered a model of harmonious and smooth movements. Due to the short legs and heavy body, the lynx of the horses looks minced. However, the animal has a good jump for its growth, and the stallions compensate for the low maneuverability with their power qualities.
An unpleasant feature of these horses is the tendency to quickly gain weight. Ponies quickly grow fat, so the diet should be balanced and compiled on the basis of physical activity.
Shetland Pony is a record holder for longevity. When properly maintained, horses can live more than 30 years.
Animal character and human interaction
A description of the Shetland pony character can be started with one word: wayward. Small horses can often show excessive stubbornness or even aggression, but only to those who encroach on their personal space.
Shetland pony is characterized by such qualities of character as:
- love of freedom;
- self esteem.
Under certain circumstances, a small pony can drive a larger breed out of the herd if the animal feels competition for leadership. Also, these horses can laugh loudly and piercingly, drawing attention to themselves.
But even with these qualities, ponies can be dealt with. They are sensitive to affection and kind words, like dogs, so little horses lend themselves well to training. We must try to do without swearing at them: they will not tolerate such an attitude. However, if you manage to earn the trust and respect of horses, working with them is very easy. Ponies are a highly intelligent breed of horses, which is why they are most often used as circus artists.
The Shetland pony treats children well, so it is often chosen as the first horse for a young rider. Also, these horses are used in medical practice. Riding often has a rehabilitative effect on the children's body, so a child with a musculoskeletal system may be prescribed a pony ride.
Containment and diet
Ponies like large horses require a lot of attention and good care. The stable for small horses should be warm and at the same time with good air circulation. Shetland pony does not require much space, unlike large breeds. For this species, a 3-square-meter stall is suitable. m, however, the ceiling height must be at least 3 m, otherwise the air in the stable will stagnate.
It is necessary to observe sanitary standards for keeping: change the litter once every two days and clean the stables at least once a day, otherwise the stall will have an unpleasant smell, and an environment for the habitat of harmful bacteria will be created.
Shetland ponies, like their adult relatives, have a small stomach, but a long intestinal tract. Because of this, feeding small horses should be frequent, but at the same time in small portions. The main problem of the pony is overweight. These animals quickly gain kilograms, so the food should be partially given.
In general, the rules for feeding ponies look like this:
- The amount of feed should correspond to physical activity.
- New complementary foods are introduced gradually.
- In summer, the animal should walk on pastures.
- It is forbidden to ride a pony if an hour has not passed since eating.
- The diet should be balanced and include coarse, juicy and green foods.
- The animal feeder should be washed once a day.
- The diet of the horse must be strictly observed.
Like larger relatives, ponies consume a lot of water. It is required to ensure that the drinker of the animal is always full and clean. Due to the active lifestyle, horses cannot be restricted in water, otherwise they may die.
Ponies need horseshoes just like large breeds. Since small horses are often used in amusement parks, their hooves can be injured due to the asphalt surface. The process of forging small horses is not particularly difficult. Horseshoes themselves are usually made to order from lightweight and durable metal. The saddle and bridle are selected individually for the steed. The bit should not crush the animal’s teeth, and the saddle should not rub its back. All equipment should be cleaned regularly to prevent illness.
Shetland pony has long been used by man as a traction force in agriculture. In today's world, where horsepower is replaced by technology, small horses are increasingly working in recreational areas, such as a circus or amusement parks.
Shetland pony has amazing strength and wayward character, however, thanks to a high level of intelligence it can be trained. In order to find a common language with this horse, one should use verbal communication and reinforce good results with rewards.