Horse breeds in the UK: a champion Shetland pony

Celebrating the UKs horse breeds: native ponies to heavy horses and all sorts in between

  • There are all kinds of UK horse breeds, starting from the diminutive hardy Shetland pony that also roams freely throughout the Shetland Isles off the north east coast of mainland Scotland, by means of to the majestic Shire horse that’s believed to have originated within the east midlands of England and stands over 17hh.

    From the pace and intelligence of the athletic British thoroughbred to the flexibility of Britains common native ride-and-drive ponies, no matter sort of equestrian exercise you want to comply with, there might be a breed of horse with its origins within the UK that may cater in your wants.

    British native ponies

    There are 12 totally different breeds of British native ponies which can be allowed to compete in Mountain & Moorland (M&M) exhibiting courses, that are usually held underneath British Present Pony Society and Nationwide Pony Society guidelines. These courses may be cut up by breed, by top (usually for working hunter pony courses) or mixed into small breed (Shetland, Exmoor, Dartmoor, Welsh A and Welsh B) and enormous breed (Welsh D, Welsh C, New Forest, Connemara, Dales, Fells, Highland) courses.

    Shetland pony

    A champion Shetland on the Royal Highland Present

    Beginning on the most northern level of the British Isles, The Shetland pony is the smallest of the UKs native ponies, standing between 28 and 42 inches excessive on the wither. The breed developed on the Shetland Isles with little affect from extra fashionable breeds, and the ponies are notable for his or her hardiness and longevity. Their dimension and energy meant they had been in demand as pit ponies once they arrived in mainland Britain through the mid-Nineteenth century. Now they’re common mounts for young children, make good driving ponies, are used as remedy ponies and are common as companions for bigger equines. The ponies may be good jumpers and may be seen at county reveals round Britain collaborating within the common Shetland Pony Grand Nationwide collection.

    Highland pony

    Highland Chief of Talisker exhibited by Amber Thorpe during The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by Lemieux at Olympia, The London International Horse Show held at Olympia in London in the UK, between the 16-22 December 2019

    Additionally originating from Scotland, the Highland Pony is without doubt one of the largest of the British native breeds. It’s a robust, well-balanced, compact pony that ought to present substance and energy. The breed is a well-liked household pony for driving and driving and can be used as a pack animal, getting used to transporting deer and different recreation off the Scottish hills. Many Highlands are succesful jumpers and also can carry out properly throughout lengthy distance rides. The breed is a favorite of The Queen, who has a big working stud of Highland ponies at Balmoral.

    Dales pony

    The Dales pony is native to the higher dales of the japanese slopes of the Pennine vary, from the Excessive Peak in Derbyshire to the Cheviot Hills close to the Scottish Border. It’s usually between 14hh and 14.2hh with solely black, brown, gray, bay or roan coats (and solely restricted white markings) allowed. Dales ponies are common for each driving and driving, the place their spectacular and classy trot additionally makes them a lot sought-after, in addition to being a stable alternative for a working hunter or an all-round mount because of their clever, type natures and flexibility.

    Fell pony

    Horse breeds in the UK: a Fell pony living on the hills in its native Lake District in Cumbria.

    A Fell pony residing on the hills in its native Lake District in Cumbria.

    The Fell pony breed is native to the north west of England, and are principally present in Cumbria the place herds of registered ponies nonetheless stay on the Cumbrian fells. The Fell is a perfect all-round household pony for adults and kids in addition to a well-liked alternative within the present ring. They can’t exceed 14hh in top and whereas there is no such thing as a decrease top restrict, there are only a few underneath 12.2hh. Traditionally Fells had been used for pack work carrying a great deal of fleeces, woollen items, foodstuff and native steel ores. They had been additionally used for shepherding and to hunt wolves. Recognized regionally as galloways , Fell ponies had been additionally used for the Cumberland sport of trotting races in addition to by large Northeastern collieries.

    New Forest pony

    New Forest ponies are among the native horse breeds of the UK

    Semi-feral New Forest ponies are sometimes seen grazing alongside the roads within the area.

    The New Forest pony is native to central southern England. Official information of horses within the New Forest date again to 1016 when rights of widespread pasture had been granted to the individuals residing in what was then a royal searching floor. New Forest ponies measure as much as 148cm and excel throughout the equestrian disciplines. They’re common decisions for pony membership and driving membership all-rounders as properly exhibiting, searching, leaping and dressage ponies. They’re fairly able to carrying adults, whereas slender sufficient for young children.

    Dartmoor pony

    Shilstone Rocks North Westerly is a top Dartmoor who has won extensively in the show ring

    Heading to the south west, the Dartmoor pony is the British native breed of the English county of Devon. The ponies have been recorded residing on the moors of Dartmoor for the reason that center ages, which means they’ve developed to be hardy and resilient. They can’t exceed 12.2hh and ought to be sturdily constructed but with high quality, like a scaled down middleweight hunter, making them an excellent driving pony. Dartmoor ponies had been initially used to hold tin from the mines, for farm work and as pack-horses for transporting items. As we speak, the breed is seen as a wonderful all-round childs pony, though they’re additionally ridden by small adults.

    Exmoor pony

    Exmoor ponies are one of the UK's oldest horse breeds

    The Exmoor pony is without doubt one of the UKs oldest native horse breeds. In addition they originate from the south west of England and the primary written document of ponies on Exmoor, when it was a delegated Royal Forest, may be present in The Doomsday E-book. Traditionally, the ponies had been utilized by hill farmers to undertake all types of labor from being ridden for shepherding to in harness for ploughing, harrowing, taking feed to inventory and the farmers household to market and church. These days Exmoors versatility sees them getting used as all-round mounts for smaller adults and kids alike. They’ve additionally confirmed to be glorious conservation grazersand getting used for this functions at plenty of areas each within the UK and world wide.

    Welsh cob (part D)

    Adam Forster and Menai Eurostar won the M&M Welsh sec D the HOYS 2021

    Adam Forster and Menai Eurostar gained the M&M Welsh part D class at HOYS 2021.

    Transferring west into Wales, the most important of the 4 Welsh native pony breeds, the Welsh part D or the Welsh Cob has no higher top restrict, however should exceed 13.2hh, whereas retaining its pony character and true Welsh sort. Described by the Welsh Pony & Cob Society as one of the best journey and drive animal on the planet, the Welsh Cob is a well-liked alternative for adults, each underneath saddle and in harness. They will make an excellent hunter and carry out properly throughout all of the ridden disciplines in addition to being common within the present ring for each ridden and pushed courses, as properly are competing efficiently in mixed driving trials.

    Welsh pony of cob sort (part C)

    The Welsh part C Welsh pony of cob sort shouldn’t exceed 13.2hh (137.2cm) and is a massively common British pony breed for each adults and kids alike. The Welsh C is an athletic, compact and durable pony, with extra physique and bone than the Welsh pony (part B). Its energy, energy and depth of girth makes them common all-rounders and a standard sight within the present ring. They’re additionally discovered competing throughout the efficiency disciplines as they will excel on the leaping circuit or achieve success dressage ponies. The part C is without doubt one of the most versatile native breeds, being appropriate for riders throughout a spread of ages.

    Welsh pony (part B)

    The Welsh section B is a popular choice of Uk horse breed for children wishing to compete across the disciplines.

    The Welsh part B or Welsh pony can’t exceed 13.2hh (137.2cm) and is a taller and extra refined model of the Welsh Mountain Pony (part A). Welsh part Bs are arguably essentially the most versatile and profitable of the Welsh breed throughout the disciplines because of their athleticism, which allows them to compete efficiently towards faster and finer non-native breeds. Many fashionable part Bs are additionally profitable in plaited exhibiting courses, standing on the high of present hunter pony strains ups at championship degree, whereas their straighter, decrease and longer-striding motion makes them very appropriate as ridden ponies. They usually bounce properly and may be nice all-rounders for kids.

    Welsh mountain pony (part A)

    The Welsh part A or Welsh Mountain Pony is the smallest of the 4 Welsh breeds standing no taller than 12h (121.9cm). The Welsh part A is a well-liked alternative for kids, with many being seen in lead rein and first ridden courses within the present ring. It’s believed the Welsh Mountain Pony has existed since prehistoric instances, being utilized by farmers as ridden animals in addition to within the pits and mines after the economic revolution. Welsh As usually have an excellent bounce and simple temperaments, making them perfect first ponies for kids that may flip their hooves to most disciplines at starter degree and make good all-round Pony Membership ponies.

    Connemara pony

    The Connemara pony is a popular UK horse breed for adults and children alike.

    Heading additional west throughout the Irish Sea, The Connemara pony originates from County Galway on Irelands west coast, a wild space of peatbogs, lakes, mountains, and rugged shoreline. It could possibly be argued that as this area shouldn’t be a part of the UK, the Connemara shouldn’t be included in a information to UK horse breeds, however because it is without doubt one of the official massive breed M&Ms which can be usually seen within the British present ring, it might be remiss of us to not embrace it right here. Connemara ponies are extremely common world wide due to their glorious temperament and flexibility, mixed with their athletic construct, making them a enjoyable pony for each kids and adults alike. Whereas the official higher top restrict for the breed is 15hh, the ponies make common part-breds with thoroughbreds and Irish Draughts, in addition to there being an rising marketplace for over-height purebred ponies as they make nice aggressive all-rounders for newbie riders of all ages.

    Different ponies which can be UK horse breeds, however which aren’t allowed to compete in M&M courses, embrace the uncommon Eriskay pony and the Dartmoor Hill Pony, which covers ponies residing in that area that shouldn’t have full Dartmoor Pony Society-registered bloodlines.

    UK horse breeds: heavy or draught horses

    Again within the days when conventional horse energy dominated the world, Britains draught or heavy horse breeds, together with the Shire, Clydesdale and Suffolk horse, had been pivotal in heavy work on the land to make sure meals manufacturing was maintained in addition to shifting each individuals and items across the nation through barge, wagon and carriage. They had been prized for his or her capacity to tug heavy masses, with the vast majority of their work being in harness reasonably than underneath saddle.

    The Shire horse

    The Shire horse is a British draught horse, thought to have originated in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, that’s believed to have descended from the Nice Horse, a well-liked warfare mount from the Center Ages. Shires are renowed for his or her dimension they’re normally round 17hh to 17.3hh and energy a pair of Shires within the Twenties allegedly pulled a load weighing greater than 45 tons. These are majestic horses, with a excessive, arched neck, properly sprung ribs, highly effective, sloping hindquarters, and heavy feathering on the legs. They’re usually light giants, calm and pleasant with an excellent temperament. Some breweries nonetheless use groups of Shire to tug drays, for native deliveries and for promotional functions. A small variety of small farms utilise Shires and different heavy horses as a substitute of tractors, to be extra environmentally sustainable. Shires are additionally nonetheless utilized in logging, and a few land administration, as they will entry areas {that a} automobile cant get to and usually inflict much less harm to the bottom.

    The Clydesdale

    Clydesdale carriage horse in a heavy parade

    The Clydesdale horse is native to Scotland, though it’s famend the world over, due to its fame within the Budweiser commercials. The breed takes its identify from the realm across the River Clyde in Lanarkshire. This British breed of heavy horse vies with the Shire horse and the Belgian Draft for the title of the worlds greatest horse. Though they’re tall (usually not less than 17hh), they’re lighter than these different draught horses because of their slighter body, which supplies the breed a sure magnificence. The Clydesdale was famend as probably the greatest agricultural and haulage animals of the 18th century, whereas now they’re primarily used for breeding, exhibiting, carriage driving and parades. In addition to being present in exhibiting and eco-friendly agriculture, some Clydesdales compete generally driving membership actions they offer a snug journey being fairly slender for a heavy draft breed and usually have an easy-going and keen temperament. They’ve additionally proved common with the Family Cavalry as drum horses.

    The Suffolk horse

    The Suffolk Punch, a rare horse breed

    The Suffolk horse additionally know because the Suffolk Punch has a historical past courting again to the sixteenth century and originated within the japanese English counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. Initially often known as the Suffolk Sorrel, the breed is the one draft horse breed developed and chosen solely for farm work. All Suffolk horses are chesnut in color (for this breed chesnut should be spelt with just one t) and may be traced by to the breeds founding stallion, Crisps Horse of Ufford, who was foaled in 1768. Following World Battle Two the breeds numbers plummeted, with solely 9 Suffolk horses registered within the UK in 1966. Whereas numbers have elevated, it’s nonetheless thought of one of many rarest horse breeds in Britain. It stands 16hh to 17hh and has a lot much less feather than its fellow heavy horses. The breed continues for use at this time in industrial forestry, and in addition to underneath saddle.

    Different UK horse breeds

    English thoroughbred

    Thoroughbred racehorses working on their fitness regimes.

    No information to UK horse breeds may be full regardless of the unbelievable equine athlete that’s the English thoroughbred. The breed was based in England within the seventeenth and 18th centuries, when English mares had been bred to 3 imported stallions of Barb, Turkomen, and Arab strains. The Normal Stud E-book, the primary official register of horses, was established in 1791, solely itemizing horses that could possibly be traced to these three stallions and to 43 Royal mares imported underneath the reign of James I. These days most thoroughbreds are produced for the racing trade, though thoroughbred bloodlines may be present in an unlimited vary of breeds, from American Quarter Horses to Morgans, Irish Draughts to European warmbloods, which have been infused with their blood to boost refinement and athleticism. Thoroughbreds are additionally common decisions for polo, searching, crew chasing and eventing, amongst different disciplines.

    The British Using Pony

    Mia Donaldson riding show pony Wilderness Early Bird

    Mia Donaldson driving present pony Wilderness Early Hen.

    The British Using Pony is a mix of one of the best thoroughbred, Arabian and British native pony bloodlines, blended by discerning breeders for the reason that twentieth Century to supply the last word driving pony. Registered ponies may be both the direct progeny of a British Using Pony sire and dam, or part-breds of British native ponies with Arabs or Thoroughbreds. These high quality ponies are famend for his or her magnificence and magnificence, with floating and floor protecting motion. British Using Ponies not solely compete with large success within the present ring, however additionally they excel in dressage, eventing, showjumping and even pony racing. Many ponies had been exported in continental Europe the place they grew to become the inspiration inventory for the German and Dutch Using Pony studbooks.

    The Hackney

    The Hackney breed is continuing to decline the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has reported

    The Hackney horse has its origins within the 18th century, when the thoroughbred was crossed with the Norfolk trotter, a large-sized trotting harness horse originating in and round Norfolk within the east of England. Hackneys are finest recognized are carriage horses, usually proven in personal driving competitions, and well-known for his or her flashy high-stepping trot. Amongst UK horse breeds, the Hackney is without doubt one of the most in danger. It’s on the Uncommon Breed Survival Trusts 2022/23 watchlist within the precedence class after simply 31 registered foals had been born in 2021. In 2011 the breed had greater than 300 breeding females. The Hackney Horse Society is making an attempt to advertise the breeds versatility nearly as good all-rounders, reasonably than conserving the breed solely or driving and exhibiting.

    Cleveland Bay

    The Cleveland Bay originates from the Cleveland space of north east England and its historical past pre-dates written information. It is without doubt one of the UK horse breeds that mixes substance, exercise, stamina and an excellent temperament, which made it appropriate for lighter farm work, pulling coaches, following hounds and taking households to church. Many European warmblood horses have Cleveland Bay of their ancestry, notably the Oldenburg which used Cleveland bay stallions extensively within the 1860s. The Queens resolution to buy a pure Cleveland Bay colt named Mulgrave Supreme and stand him at public stud within the Nineteen Sixties did a lot to spice up the breed, which went on to supply high quality horses compete in driving, dressage and showjumping on the highest degree.

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