They have excellent temperament, and are strong and sturdy and are ideally suited to the harsh environment of the Scottish Western Isles.
- Throughout the 20th century the ponies which were found in the Hebrides were known as Western Isles Ponies.
- These docile animals were the working ponies of the crofters.
- They were invaluable to the island inhabitants who used them to carry pannier baskets of peat for winter fuel and seaweed from the shore to fertilise the land. They were also used for light ploughing.
- With the onset of mechanisation, and a decline in the local population as people moved to the mainland, the breed steadily declined in numbers.
- By 1968 the only Western Isles ponies left were on the islands of Uist and Eriskay.
- The Breed Society was founded to conserve the remaining animals, and the breed name established as the Eriskay.
- The Eriskay is a grey pony although occasionally other colours may be seen.
- Newborn foals can be black, bay or roan in colour but this gradually fades to the grey colouration seen in the adults.
- They can stand up to 13.2hh.
The breed's hardiness and thrifty nature makes them well suited to conservation grazing.
Although Eriskay Ponies stand less than 13.2hh high, they are strong for their size and make excellent riding ponies. Their family friendly characteristics mean that they are often used to work with disabled and special needs children.
The breed's strength for it's small size and stamina means Eriskay ponies make good driving ponies.
Did you know?
Due to their wonder characters, Eriskay ponies are often used in therapy, especially with the disabled and special needs children.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.