From a smaller wild horse a number of light and medium sized breeds were bred, to which the pony also belongs. The Shetties owe their small, hardy growth to the harsh climatic conditions of their homeland, part of the 117 Shetland Islands north-east of Scotland. They have been found there for over 2000 years and are thought to have descended from the Scottish Dwarf Horse and developed into a breed of their own.
In mining they were used as pit horses underground.
The Shetland pony can pull twice as much as its own weight. Other heavy horses only have about half this power.
Today the robust ponies are very popular as the first riding horses for children and as strong and enduring driving horses.
In England, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA the largest breeds can be found.