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Horse Articles :: Shetland Pony Care
A shetland pony is probably one of the most interesting breeds
of horse there is. When children see a shetland pony they
immediately want one. When adults see them they want one too
but may not admit it. But everyone loves shetland ponies.
Where do shetland ponies come from? They originated in the
Shetland Islands of Scotland. They can exist on very little
food and have been utilized as pack horses as early as 1850.
England imported some as did the United States.
It was in the United States that superior breeds of shetland
ponies began to be produced. These new breeds are the ones
we are most familiar with as children's pets.
American Shetlands are not like the shetland ponies they descended
from. The shetland ponies from Scotland were a very wooly
breed, while the America shetland pony is more like a miniature
horse. There are two types of shetland pony, the classic and
the modern American shetland.
A registered American shetland can be no taller than 46 inches.
Shetland ponies are not measured by "hands" as other horses
are. Even though the classic is more directly related and
not bred with other breeds of horse, the ones you see today
are not like those shetland island ponies of the 1800s.
Enough history, this article is to help you learn what it
takes to care for your pony if you decide to get your own
Your shetland pony, for the most part, needs the same grooming
as any other horse. They need to be washed, combed, and cared
for as you would any pet. They need regular vaccinations,
de-worming, and veterinary care like all horse do.
The only thing that I can say you might want to pay more attention
to is your shetland pony's feet. They require more care. Miniature
horses are a little more delicate in that area than their
larger cousins. This requires daily care, so if you are thinking
of getting your own shetland pony, please note that with it
comes responsibility for their care.
Here are some tips for caring for your shetland pony's feet.
Picking out your pony's feet is one of the most important
things you will do for your shetland pony. You may have to
do it for an active pony several times per day. You should
check your pony's feet before you ride him/her every single
time. Make sure there is no debris stuck in their hooves.
You will need to purchase a hoof pick. It's a sharpened curved
tool especially made for this task. Always use the pick aimed
away from you as you should with any sharp object or tool.
You will also need a hoof brush. Later in this article I will
tell you how and when each tool should be used. The other
item you will need is hoof oil. You can purchase it from your
local feed store most likely. If not, ask your Veterinarian.
Not checking can result in serious problems for your shetland
pony. The irritation caused by even the smallest pebble can
lead to infection and injury. Think of how it feels to have
a pebble in your shoe, then multiply that by ten.
As soon as you are through riding your shetland pony, you
need to check their feet again. And of course you need to
cool them down after riding and brush them. The more you care
for your shetland pony, the more they will care for you and
the longer they will be around for you to enjoy.
As with any horse, your shetland pony should be tied up while
you check their feet. Most horse groomers have a method to
how they do things. You and your horse benefit from this.
You benefit by having a routine that helps you remember to
do everything you need to do. Your shetland pony benefits
by knowing what to expect.
I work from front to back, taking the time to gently rub the
horse's front calf while talking to him/her soothingly. Remember,
for a horse or pony, lifting their foot and standing on just
three feet is not a natural act. They need to trust you. And
you need them to trust you and not try to kick you away.
When you think they are ready, use a command and grip the
leg firmly to lift it up. Lean your shoulder into them as
you do this and they will get the message. Your horse or pony
will get used to the command associated with the lifting of
his/her leg and it will get easier as time goes on.
You have to be the boss that's why your grip and determination
needs to be solid. However, if your pony resists dramatically,
back off and try again, soothing them with your voice as you
go. They will eventually learn you are not about to hurt them.
First check to see if your pony's hoof is hot or cold. If
it feels cool to the touch, everything is fine. If you feel
heat, then there is a problem. You need to contact your Veterinarian
in this case. Do not groom your pony's feet if you felt heat
there. Wait until the Vet can take a look.
Next, check your pony's shoes if they have them. Make sure
they fit tightly, there are no nails sticking out, and that
their hoof hasn't started to grow over the shoes. Contact
a local Farrier to have your pony shod and to check your pony
as the need arises or every 2 months to trim your pony's hooves.
Also note that your pony needs a qualified Farrier to trim
their hooves even if your pony does not have shoes.
Now, if the hoof was cool, use the hoof pick working from
heel to toe. This works best. Any debris that is lodged in
the hoof needs to be removed. Do a good job with this and
your pony will thank you. Never use the hoof pick on the sensitive
part of the hoof called the frog.
This is where that hoof brush I mentioned earlier comes into
play. Use it to brush the sensitive area of the hoof gently,
but with enough pressure to remove any dirt and debris there.
Wetting the brush can help remove more debris and will also
help protect your shetland pony's hoof from cracking.
Speaking of moisture, did you remember to get that hoof oil
I mentioned? I hope so because after you are done picking
and brushing your pony's hooves, you will need to apply hoof
oil. This oil is made to protect your pony's hooves from cracking.
Use it on the outside and inside of the hoof.
You can either do this as you do each hoof or do each thing
separately, whichever routine you have chose. Just remember
to do it all in the same order each time. Get your pony used
to what you are going to do next and you may find them lifting
their hoof in anticipation of what you are about to do or
doing it on just a command.
I hope this article has helped you realize the care you need
to take of your shetland pony. If you do not already have
one of these beautiful creatures and are thinking of getting
one, then I hope this article helps you understand what care
your new shetland pony will need.
About the Author
Greg Lucas is a small business owner and an on-line marketing
expert who owns and operates a large network of informative
and educational websites. for more information please visit: