Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Eriskay Pony   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Eriskay is a critically endangered native Scottish pony breed, which descends from Celtic and Norse ponies. It remained pure until the 19th century, when many Eriskay ponies were crossed with heavy horses to produce stronger ponies who can work in agriculture. Only the Eriskay Ponies who lived on the remote Eriskay Island were spared the crossbreeding, because of how difficult it was to transport heavy horses there. Eventually, in the 1970s, only 21 purebred Eriskay ponies remained.

In 1972, several villagers from different Scottish islands decided to establish the Comman Each Nan Eilean (translated from Gaelic: Island Horse Society), with the aim of preserving the pure form of the breed. With the one purebred stallion and twenty purebred mares that were left, the society managed to increase the size of the herd, and to save the breed. In 1995, the Eriskay Pony Society was established, and joined the conservation efforts. As of 2019, there are about 400 Eriskay Ponies, and the breed is critically endangered.

Eriskay Ponies were bred for centuries to have a cooperative personality, gentle temperament, and good attitude, especially towards children. Therefore, Eriskay Ponies are easy to train and work with, and today they serve as harness ponies and as children's mounts.

Most Eriskay Ponies come in various shades of grey, and non-grey ponies are extremely rare. These ponies are either mealy brown or mealy black in color. Chestnut is not found in this breed, and white markings are kept to a minimum. Eriskay Ponies stand between 11.3hh and 13.2hh.

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