The Breed and Stud-Book

Small ponies have existed in the Shetland Isles for over 2000 years and probably much longer.

Various excavations on the islands have revealed the bones of small ponies that existed during the Bronze Age and it is thought that ponies have been in domestic use there since this time.

This was the first society for a breed of native ponies to be formed in Britain and today is the second largest after the Welsh Pony and Cob Society. The first stud book was published in 1891 and recorded details of 408 mares, many with foals, and 48 stallions.The success of this is shown by the fact that the Stud-Book is in the same format today.

Click on the links below to find out more information.


The welfare of Shetland Ponies throughout the UK is a prime concern of the Society.  Owning a pony can give great pleasure but there is also a big responsibility involved with the care and wellbeing of the pony. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires that you ensure any horse, pony, donkey or mule for which you are responsible, whether on a permanent or a temporary base has:

  • A suitable environment to live in
  • A healthy diet
  • Is able to behave normally
  • Has appropriate company
  • Is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease