A Shetland pony, lawn mower or sports pony?
The Shetland Pony is one of the smallest and oldest horse breeds. Because the ponies are so small, it is often thought that you cannot do anything with them. They are often used as a pasture companion for other horses, or simply as a lawn mower! This is actually very bad, because shetland ponies are very sensitive to obesity and laminitis. In this article it will become clear what fun things you can do with a shetland!
The Shetland pony as a children’s pony
Contrary to popular belief, the Shetland is very suitable as a children’s pony, if properly trained of course. The image of stubborn ponies is often because they are (inconsistently) raised by children. However, a well-trained pony is often very sweet to children and of course easier for children because they are so small.
Shetland ponies are very suitable for riding under saddle. They are (unfortunately) allowed up to the L2 at official KNHS matches, but there are certainly Shetland ponies who can do more. Many Shetland ponies can also jump like the best.
What you have to watch out for is that children do not get too big for the pony. They are strong, but children that are too heavy or too tall can put the pony under the wrong weight. Often the maximum weight of a child is calculated by taking 20% of the pony’s body weight.
The Shetland pony as a driving pony
Not only children, adults can also have a lot of fun with the Shetland Pony, for example by harnessing the pony. Shetland ponies are very strong and can even pull twice their own weight! This is on a smooth (asphalt) road of course, on a loose dirt road this will be much less.
You see a lot of Shetland ponies in the driving sport, also at a higher level. Just look at Aart vd Kamp sr., Who competes high in the sport with his four-in-hand Shetland ponies. In addition to driving, Shetland ponies are also ridden in harnessed sport. The driving sport is of course mainly known with Harness horses, Frisians and Hackneys, but the Shetland Pony also participates. The Dutch Shetland Pony Studbook has a competition for singles and pairs.
Dressage on the long rein
Something that is also increasingly emerging is dressage on the long rein. Everyone knows the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where they work with those beautiful horses, including on the long rein.
In dressage on the long rein you walk behind your pony, where you let the pony perform all kinds of exercises. The walk can still reasonably be done at the normal pace of the pony, but at the trot and later perhaps even the canter, the intention is that the pony is so collected that you do not have to run to keep up with your pony.
As mentioned before, you can of course participate in official competitions, but the studbook also organizes various competitions. There is, for example, the Indoor Shetland competition day twice a year, an outdoor twice a year and there are regular competition competitions (driving sport).
Not a lawn mower!
The Shetland Pony is certainly not just a lawn mower! There are so many more things that can be done with this amazing pony breed! In addition to the things described above, you also have the inspections and there are people who mainly have their shetland to cuddle, brush and walk with.
The Shetland Pony, a pony breed for everyone!