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
- Appearance of the Shetland pony
- Character of the animal and interaction with humans
- Conditions of keeping and diet
Shetland pony range
Shetland ponies are considered to be the indigenous habitat of Shetland Island, which is located northeast of Scotland. 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.
External view of the Shetland pony
The 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 horse 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 trunk are short, have pronounced joints and strong low hooves.
Shetland pony has a very thick hair. 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 dense, with warm undercoat, so these babies tolerate cold and strong winds. The density of the hairline protects the horses from the increased humidity of their natural habitats.
In summer, the stallions begin to molt, so the breed tolerates air temperatures well 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.
Growth at the withers of Shetland horses should be a little more than a meter. 7 cm above the norm are allowed, however each subsequent centimeter indicates impurities of other breeds.
In terms of 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, the 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 strengths.
An unpleasant feature of these horses is the tendency to quickly gain excess weight. Ponies quickly grow stout, so the diet should be balanced and based on physical activity.
Shetland pony is a record holder for longevity. When properly maintained, horses can live more than 30 years.
The nature of the animal and its interaction with humans
A description of the character of the Shetland pony 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 distinguished by such qualities of character as:
- love of freedom;
Under certain circumstances, a little 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, a pony 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 performers.
The Shetland pony is good for children, 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 child’s body, so a child with a musculoskeletal system problem can be prescribed a pony ride.
Conditions and diet
Ponies are like big horses requires 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 stable air will stagnate.
Sanitary standards must be observed: change the litter once every two days and clean the stables at least once a day, otherwise the stall will have an unpleasant odor, 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 given in part.
In general, the rules for feeding the pony look like this:
- The amount of food should correspond to physical activity.
- New complementary foods are introduced gradually.
- In summer, the animal must walk on pastures.
- It is forbidden to ride a pony if not an hour has passed from a meal.
- The diet should be balanced and include coarse, juicy and green foods.
- The animal’s feeder should be washed once a day.
- The horse’s diet should be strictly observed .
Just 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. Because of their active lifestyles, 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. m world where horsepower replaced appliances, small horses are increasingly working in the entertainment field, such as the circus or amusement parks.
Sheltie has amazing power and capricious character, however, due to the high level of intelligence to train. To find a common language with this horse, you should use verbal communication and reinforce good results with rewards.