Highland Pony

The Highland Pony is one of the largest breeds of pony of the mountain and moorland pony breeds. It is native to Scotland and the British Isles. Originally used as a work horse dating back to the 1880s, but now the pony is mainly used for driving, trekking and riding, but some are still used for working.

Some breeders specifically develop Highland Ponies for packing deer from the mountains and limited timber extraction.

Two types of Highland’s were originally bred, a small pony of the western Isles, and a larger pony for the mainland. Today, both breeds have integrated into one, but a rare smaller breed with similarities exists in the Eriskay Pony.

During the 1500s, French and Spanish horses were taken to the Scottish highlands and in the 1800s were bred with Hackney, Fell and Dales Ponies.

An estimated 5,500 Highland Ponies are around today with most of them in Europe. They are increasing in popularity but still are listed at risk by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The Highland Pony is very durable and adepts well to extreme climates. The soft smooth undercoat is covered with thick hair during the winter which it sheds in the spring. Colors of the Highland range from a variety of dun shades, to gray, brown, black and sometimes bay or chestnut. The foal may gradually change coat color as it ages and some will show a slightly different color from winter to summer.

The Highland stands between 52 and 57 inches high. Acceptable characteristics for a Highland include, a well-carried head, with kindly eyes, a broad muzzle and deep jowl. A Highland must also have sloping shoulders with a compact body and deep chest, powerful quarters and well-developed thighs. Its legs should have broad knees, short cannon bones and well-shaped broad dark hooves.

Image Caption: Grace of Carlung, Highland Pony champion at the Royal Highland Show 2005. Credit: Confuslefu/Wikipedia (public domain)