The most primitive from the English Nordic horses are the Shetland ponies, which in size are smallest of all breeds. No horse can be registered into the studbook that is taller than 1m. Their homeland are the Shetland Islands north of Scotland; the better breeds are on the northern most island of Unst.
The Shetland pony has round/”chubby” body on short legs, long and wide neck, small brachycephalic head, and very fury coat especially in the winter when he grows very thick undercoat.
At work they show very good endurance and can demonstrate times awesome power for such small horse. On account of their characteristics and mainly their size, they were/are used for work in the mines to clear out narrow shafts before the machines could be set up. Every Saturday they come out to enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine and on Monday they go down again.
Many of these ponies are/were exported to foreign countries, mainly to Canada. Besides working in the mines, they came to be very handy and useful in the flower and vegetable gardens.
For more information on the Shetland ponies, please visit the Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society.