DISCOVER THE HIGHLAND PONY BREED
The Highland pony is hardy and tough, with strong hooves. Their winter coat consists of a layer of ‘badger-like’ hair over a thick, fluffy
undercoat, allowing them to live out in all weather. They can be between 13hh to 14.2hh and a variety of dun shades, grey, seal brown, black, or bay or a shade of liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. Dun-coloured ponies have primitive markings including a dorsal stripe and sometimes ‘zebra’ markings on their legs.
Long ago, before the recognition of the breed, there were two types: the smaller Western Isles pony, and the larger, heavier mainland type, which were commonly called ‘garrons’, (derived from Gaelic for gelding but used to mean workhorse) though the term is now considered incorrect. To ensure the survival of the Highland Pony the Dept of Agriculture set up the Knocknagael stud in 1898. The ‘Department’ bloodlines are still valued today for their quality. The Highland Pony Society, which was formed in 1923, now maintains the breed standard and produces the stud book.
The forebearers Highland breed were bred to work on the crofts, small farms and estates of Scotland. They did a wide range of tasks including: carrying peat and farm produce, hauling timber, ploughing, pulling carts and sleds (called carns), and carrying deer of up to 16 stone. They are still used for such work, but now are mostly used for leisure activities such as trekking, jumping and endurance.
The Highland pedigree dates back to the 1880s. At one point close to extinction there are around 5500 Highlands in the world today. Despite increasing popularity, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust still consider the breed “vulnerable” (500-900 breeding females) today.