American Shetland Pony Club
The American Shetland Pony Club
The American Shetland Pony Club was founded in 1888 and is one of the oldest breed registries in the country. Americans fell in love with the small equine when they first arrived over 120 years ago from the Shetland Isles. The Registry was formed to preserve the bloodlines while improving and refining the breed to make it the versatile, hardy pony we see today. The American Shetland Pony is popular due to it's intelligence, athleticism, and wonderful personalities coupled with strong conformation, good feet, and an attractive appearance. They come in every coat and eye color except appaloosa (the first Pony of the Americas or POA was born in 1954 and was a cross between an Appaloosa/Arabian dam and Shetland sire). The American Shetland Pony is prized as a family pet and as a show horse, and the first Shetland Pony Congress was held in 1947.
There are two basic types of American Shetland Ponies: Modern and Classic
The Classic Shetland division is further broken down to include the Foundation Shetland pony and the Modern Shetland division is further broken down to include the Modern Pleasure pony. The ASPC denotes bloodline on the animal's Registration papers by the inclusion of an A or B after the Registration number at the top of the papers. Ponies with Hackney Pony background will have a B and must show in the Modern Shetland classes. Otherwise, ponies with an A after their registration number must choose between Modern or Classic classes to show in depending on the physical TYPE the pony is. Foundation ponies must first be verified by the ASPC, they must have all A papered ponies on their immediate pedigree shown. With a small fee, a seal will be put on the pony's papers and your pony will then be Foundation sealed and able to show in Foundation Shetland classes.
The next consideration for showing your Shetland pony is size. Modern and Classic ponies cannot have a total height taller than 46 inches at the highest point of the withers. Foundation ponies cannot be taller than 42 inches tall. If your pony is taller than the size requirements for the show ring, it does not have it's papers suspended like the American Miniature Horse does. It simply cannot show in the specified classes. If your Modern Shetland pony is on the tall side, you can consider getting it cross registered as an American Show Pony which allows ponies to show up to 48 inches in height. Shetland pony classes can offer Over and Under height breakdowns as well. Shetland ponies also have a heel measurement along with their overall height taken by the Show Steward. The height of the heel is taken from the coronet band to the ground, and includes shoes and pads if worn.
The Classic American Shetland is more refined than the original imported Shetland pony. The Classic pony is well balanced, strong, and has a willing, gentle disposition. It is a versatile, fun pony for equine lovers of all ages and is perfect for any event in the show ring, driving in CDE events, parades, trail riding, or as a family pet with minimal maintenance. A Classic Shetland must have "A" papers, but if too extreme in type may show as a Modern pony.
The Foundation ponies reflect the animal on which the breed has been founded. They are more conservative in type and should exhibit slightly more bone and substance. Mares should appear a little more feminine and stallions should appear slightly masculine. The Foundation entry is shown in as natural a state as possible. A pony with the Foundation Seal can show in Foundation classes but may not be proper type if too extreme.
The Modern Shetland is a pony that blends the original Shetland pony type with the Hackney pony influence to create a strong, attractive pony that is refined with a lot of natural motion. The Modern is stylish with energy, animation, alertness, and presence. It is an agile, quick-thinking pony that is bred to perform.
The Modern Shetland can be broken down between Modern and Modern Pleasure. The difference between the ponies is physical type. The Modern Pleasure pony tends a little bit more towards the Classic type but is generally more extreme in type and motion. Modern ponies can have weighted shoes while Modern Pleasure ponies are shown barefoot or with light plates and pads only. Modern ponies have the option of showing with set tails while Modern Pleasure ponies cannot have set up tails. The Modern Pleasure pony generally does not have the high action of the Roadster or Harness pony and must display an absolutely agreeable attitude.