Shetland ponies are a breed of miniature horses that are native to Scotland. Their name comes from the Shetland Isles, a collection of Scottish islands where they originated. Shetland ponies have been used for agriculture for thousands of years, first being used to pull carts and then being shipped to the mainland to be used as “pit ponies”. Pit ponies were enlisted during the Industrial Revolution to cart coal around the mines after the British mines Act prohibited the use of women and children as mine labourers in 1842. Nowadays, Shetland ponies are predominately ridden by children in horse shows and riding schools. They are also sometimes used as guide horses to accompany the blind. Green Olive at Red Hill’s major charity, Riding for the Disabled Mornington Peninsula, works with horses and Shetland ponies to improve the lives of those effected by disabilities.
Our Shetland pony’s name is Gracie and she is 20 years old. Gracie joined our family in 2008 when she was gifted to our children, Sam and Sophie, as a surprise Christmas present. Our children and many others rode Gracie when she was a young girl but now she prefers being fed carrots and being brushed by the children who visit her. Gracie loves her food and her best mates are Pisa and Baci who are always by her side in the paddock. The Maremma dogs are a similar size to Gracie so they all feel at home when playing together in the paddock.Gracie, like all Shetland ponies, is very cheeky and can even open gates when she wants to reach the greener grass in the other paddock! Kids can meet Gracie at our Meet the Animals activities during the school holidays!