A Shetland pony is a small variety of horse. It has a stocky, muscular body with a shaggy coat. The coat can come in a variety of colors, but the most common are shades of black and brown.
This type of pony weighs between 300 and 500 pounds (136.1-226.8). Shetland ponies stand no taller than 11.2 hands (46 inches/116.8 cm) at the withers (shoulders).
At Cosley Zoo, the Shetland pony’s diet consists of a commercial equine diet and hay.
Ponies have a gestation period of 11 months. One baby (foal) is born at a time. Twins are possible but quite uncommon. A healthy foal can stand up an hour after it is born. Foals are left with their mothers until they are 4-5 months of age, at which time they are weaned.
Although they can tolerate cold weather fairly well, horses do need shelter from the wind and rain. During the day, Cosley Zoo’s horses share an outdoor yard. They are brought indoors during the day in the case of extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or lightning. Each evening the horses are led into their individual stalls inside the barn to spend the night.
Shetland ponies live an average of 20-25 years.
Known to be small and hardy, Shetland ponies were developed for use in coal mines to pull heavy loads in very small spaces. Today, Shetland ponies are often used as companion animals for children because of their easygoing nature. They are also used as show animals.