I am compiling a History of Shetland Pony Showing in Scotland. This will be on-going, Information will be added as it is acquired. There will be a certain amount of changing & re-arranging as time goes by.
I would greatly appreciate any information anyone might have about the early days of Shetland Pony Showing in Scotland. Any information used will be properly accredited, see bottom of page. MW
I would like to compile similar lists from other shows in Scotland, shows that no longer exist as well as the ones that are still going strong.
The recorded history of the Shetland Pony goes back maybe a few thousand years, but the odd details on record are a bit vague when going back that far. As far as the modern pedigree Shetland Pony goes it all started with the formation of the Londonderry Stud which was founded around 1850, and the formation of the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society in 1890. The 5th Marquis of Londonderry owned a number of coal mines in County Durham, he had used Shetland Ponies in his mine from his stud in Durham to which he had bought ponies in from the islands. Becoming increasingly concerned about the declining standard of the ponies, in 1870 acquired land on Bressay near Lerwick and established a stud. The managers of his two studs Mr R Brydon (Durham) and Mr J Meiklejohn (Bressay) bought the best possible ponies they could find on the Islands and then through methodical breeding began to develop the Londonderry type, Shetland ponies suitable for work in the coal mines. The Londonderry type was basically a draught animal with improved bone and limbs, stronger though smaller for pulling heavy loads along low seams in the pits. Until this improvement ? Shetland Ponies were mainly saddle and pack animals. The Londonderry ponies were very successful at the Highland Show, In the years 1884 to 1898 they won 45 classes and came second in 30 classes. The stud was dispersed in 1899.
One of the stallions bought at the formation of the Londonderry Bressay Stud had a truly massive influence on the future of the breed, his name was Jack. All that is known about him prior to being bought is that he was foaled in 1871, he was black and 40 inches in height, there is only one known photograph of him. At the following 12 Highland Shows after the Londonderry dispersal, a total of 116 1st & 2nd class Shetland Pony prizes were awarded, of these 114 were won by the progeny of sires from the Londonderry Stud. Of the 26 Londonderry originated sires involved 3 were sons and 15 were grandsons of Jack. Of the 490 foals entered in the first 9 Stud Books, 248 were by Jack and his 3 sons, 160 were by his 8 grandsons and 36 by his great grandson, only 46 were unrelated.
Photograph on right by R H Ramsey.
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www.shetlandponyscotland.com would like to thank the following people for lending books from their libraries :- Harry Sleigh……..Derek Burnett