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highland pony

Some say that the ancestors of the Highland lived in Scotland before the Ice Age. The breed was influenced by the horses from invading armies, and by various out-crossings. In the past, there were two types: the small and light pony of the Western Isles, and the larger and heavier mainland-bred Garron. Both types have integrated now, and there is less distinction. In the 16th century, French and Spanish horses, including the Percheron, were taken to the Scottish highlands. In the 19th century, a Hackney type and the Fell Pony and Dales Pony were added. There has also been use of the Arabian to upgrade the stock. The breed was originally bred to work on the small farms of Scotland, hauling timber and game as well as ploughing. They are still used for such work, but are usually enjoyed as all-round ponies, good for jumping and trekking, due to their quietness, stamina, and ability to carry weight. There are an estimated 5500 Highlands in the world today, with most in Europe. Although some are still bred for their substance and stamina, the trend is to breed for a pony more suited for riding and driving. The breed is also commonly crossed with thoroughbreds to produce good event horses.

The Highland Pony is a native British pony, and is the largest of Britainís 9 native breeds. Its pedigree dates back to the 1880s. It was once a workhorse in the Scottish mainland and islands, but today is used for trekking and general riding.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Highland Pony".