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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: American Shetland [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
Not a Shetland:
Although it has 'Shetland' in its name, the American Shetland is not a Shetland Pony (also known as "Shetland," for short).
The Shetland is a Scottish pony breed that originated in the Shetland Islands and remained pure for centuries. The American Shetland is an American breed created by mixing Scottish Shetlands with other horse and pony breeds, namely with Hackneys.
The ancestors of the American Shetland are Shetland Ponies which were imported from Scotland to the USA during 1884 and 1885. These tiny ponies gained the interest of many American breeders, who started to cross them with Hackney horses, Hackney ponies, and Welsh ponies.
In 1888, the American Shetland Pony Club was established with the aim of managing and developing this crossbreeding program.
A tiny Hackney-like horse:
During the first half of the 20th century, breeders continued to cross Shetland Ponies with Hackneys and with Welsh ponies. The crossbred offspring were then crossed again with Hackneys, Welsh ponies, small Arabians, and small Thoroughbreds.
The resulting breed, whose conformation was more similar to that of a small Hackney than to that of a Shetland, was seen as the American version of the Shetland pony, and was therefore called "American Shetland."
A showy little horse:
By the 1950s, the American Shetland was an established breed with a distinctive conformation, which was slim and showy (compared to that of the original Shetland Pony.) In addition, many American Shetlands inherited the high knee-action and high-stepping trot of their Hackney ancestors.
Having both an elegant conformation and eye-catching movement, the American Shetland was the ideal pony for halter and driving classes, and the breed became popular in the USA.
The American Shetland today:
Today, most American Shetlands are used for halter and driving classes, but some of them are also used as mounts for small children. In addition, American Shetlands who are shorter than 9.2hh are often also registered as Miniature Horses.
Four subtypes of American Shetlands:
There are four subtypes of American Shetlands, of which three are found in Horse Isle.
There is the 'Foundation American Shetland', whose conformation is similar to the conformation that American Shetlands had back in the 1950s; the 'Modern American Shetland', whose conformation and knee-action are similar to those of Hackney Ponies (see the 'Hackney'); and the 'Classic American Shetland', whose conformation is somewhere in-between and who has a regular knee-action.
The fourth subtype, which is not found in Horse Isle, is the 'Modern Pleasure American Shetland,' which looks identical to the Modern American Shetland but lacks its high action.
Generally speaking, American Shetlands look more like tiny Hackneys rather than Shetlands.
The head is slender, with large eyes and small ears, broad at the forehead but tapers toward a fine muzzle with large nostrils. The profile varies from straight to slightly concave, and the poll is horizontal.
The neck is long and arched, with a broad base although it tapers toward the head into a fine throatlatch, and with a rounded topline and of high connection to slightly prominent withers. The back is short back, the croup is horizontal, and the hooves are broad. The tail can be held at any angle, from a normal low to 'Arab-like' high.
The hair of the mane and tails is fine. The mane can be anywhere from short to long in length, but the tail grows long.
The following are the: range, average, (SD), and MOE of performance metrics of ordered American Shetlands in Horse Isle (not bred ones). In rare cases,
Speed: 11.7-13.3, 12.3 (0.5), 0.09.
Sprint: 16-31, 23 (4), 0.77.
Accel: 0.87-1.05, 0.94 (0.04), 0.01.
Decel: 0.83-1.03, 0.93 (0.04), 0.01.
Jump: 4.79-5.29, 5.09 (0.08), 0.02.
Pull: 0.15-1.07, 0.56 (0.25), 0.05.
Turning: 44.38-59.68, 50.81 (2.94), 0.58.
Reverse: 2.2-2.8, 2.5 (0.1), 0.03.
Stamina: 39.98-45.77, 42.84 (1.47), 0.29.
Reaction: 0.56-0.70, 0.63 (0.03), 0.01.
Coats & Height:
Colors & patterns: all colors and patterns except for champagne, dominant-black, pearl, manchado, and leopard.
Height: 7hh to 11.2hh, although each subtype has its own height range.
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