Highly prized

Your Horse (UK) - - NATIVE BREEDS -

So highly prized was the Shet­land pony that one of the is­land’s ear­li­est laws dic­tated that if any­one should “cut any other man’s horse tail or mane” they would face “the pain of ten pounds” — a con­sid­er­able sum of money at the time. The ex­or­bi­tant fine re­flects the se­ri­ous­ness of the crime and the Shet­land is­lan­ders’ de­pen­dence on their fish­ing and their ponies in or­der to live. To­day, the Shet­land and all of the UK’s na­tive ponies are still highly val­ued. They’re all tough and hardy, and most can carry a fully-grown adult with ease. Small ponies sim­i­lar to Shet­lands were known to be in what is now Scot­land and its is­lands since the time of the Picts, the first set­tlers. Undi­luted due to their iso­lated home, the ponies were un­in­flu­enced by ori­en­tal blood. They worked the land, car­ried peat and seaweed (both used for fuel) and sur­vived on mea­gre ra­tions. Fish­er­men used hairs from the ponies’ tails as fish­ing line — hence that law.

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