The shetland pony is a small but sturdy horse breed native to the harsh Shetland Isles northeast of Scotland. Despite its small size, it is a tough breed capable of pulling large amounts of weight under difficult circumstances.
Due to its small size, friendly character and rather cheeky behaviour, it is a popular choice by many children buying their first horse.
Though American Shetland Horses share their name and part of their heritage with the general Shetland Pony breed, the American version tends to be slightly larger and is much more refined as a result of crosses with many other breeds and small horses. It also comes in a wider range of colours and patterns.
Shetland ponies come in many colours, including the base colours, grey and the cream and dun varieties. Pangaré appears occasionally. Silver is present, though very rare.
A recently identified colour unique to this breed is mushroom. Due to the phenotype mimicking silver black, it was originally thought to be caused by the silver dilution, until it was discovered all mushroom ponies were chestnut based. Not much else is known about the colour or its genetic makeup as it is quite rare.
Several white patterns appear in the breed, including roan, tobiano and splashed white-1. Though many small appaloosa ponies are sometimes advertised as shetland ponies, the colour did not appear in the original population on the Shetland Isles and spotted ponies can therefore never be purebred shetland ponies.