The double winter coat enables the ponies to live out in all weathers. The long tail, thick mane and forelock offer protection against the sun and biting insects in the summer months. The breed's ability to thrive in a hostile environment, combined with its strength and even temperament, suited it for many purposes.
- The Highland Pony evolved from the sixteenth century with some influence of other breeds - mainly Norfolk Roadster and Arab - and became adapted to the variable and often severe climatic conditions of Scotland.
- It has been used as a military pony, for general farm work, forestry, driving, riding, deer stalking and other sporting and showing activities.
- The typical Highland pony, standing up to 14.2 hh, is well balanced and compact with powerful quarters, a deep chest and plenty of room for heart and lungs.
- Colours vary from shades of dun and grey to brown, black and occasionally bay and liver chestnut with silver mane and tail. Many ponies have a dark coloured dorsal stripe and some show zebra markings on legs and shoulder.
- Ponies have a the double winter coat which is shed in spring to reveal a smooth summer coat.
- They also have a long tail, thick main and thick feathering on the lower legs.
The strength and even temperament of Highland Ponies make them good work horses. Indeed they are still used in areas inaccessible to machines, such as in logging or to extract deer carcases from the hill.
Highland Ponies are great for riding and are suitable for both children and adults.
Very hardy, having evolved in the cold exposed uplands, the Highland Pony thrives on extensive rough grazing. It is well suited to conservation grazing, particularly in extensive systems and where the climate can be more extreme.
Did you know?
It is said that sport of pony trekking was started Newtonmore in 1952 by Ewan Ormiston using Highland Ponies. The same herd still exists today.
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.