• HEIGHT: Registered stock must not exceed 40 inches (102 cm) at three years or under, nor 42 inches (107 cm) at four years or over. Ponies are measured from the withers to the ground, by measuring stick, and a level stance, preferably concrete, should be used.
  • COLOUR: Shetland ponies may be any colour known in horses except spotted.
  • COAT: The coat changes according to the seasons: a double coat in winter with guard hairs which shed the rain and keep the pony's skin completely dry in the worst of the weather and, by contrast, a short summer coat which should carry a beautiful silky sheen. At all times the mane and tail hair should be long, straight and profuse and the feathering of the fetlocks straight and silky.
  • HEAD: The head should be small, carried well and in proportion. Ears should be small and erect, wide set but pointing well forward. Forehead should be broad with bold, dark, intelligent eyes. Muzzle must be broad with nostrils wide and open. Teeth and jaw must be correct.
  • BODY: The neck should be properly set onto the shoulder, which in turn should be sloping, not upright, and end in a well defined wither. The body should be strong with plenty of heart room, well sprung ribs, the loin strong and muscular. The quarters should be broad and long with the tail set well up on them.
  • FORELEGS: Should be well-placed with sufficient good, flat bone. Strong forearm. Short balanced cannon bone. Springy pasterns.
  • HINDLEGS: The thighs should be strong and muscular with well-shaped strong hocks, neither hooky nor too straight. When viewed from behind, the hindlegs should not be set too widely apart, nor should the hocks be turned in.
  • FEET: Tough, round and well-shaped - not too short, narrow, contracted or thin.
  • ACTION: Straight, free action using every joint. Tracking up well.
  • GENERAL: A most salient and essential feature of the Shetland Pony is its general air of vitality (presence), stamina and robustness.


  1. DRESS: Must be neat, no training shoes or jeans. Where possible, ladies should wear a collar and tie or blouse with jacket and neat trousers or skirt.
    Tartan skirts/kilts or trousers look very smart and enhance the image of the pony. Sensible footwear is essential to allow a pony to be shown effectively.
    Gentlemen should wear a collar and tie and tweed jacket with neat trousers or a suit or kilt. Hats are not compulsory for either sex but, without doubt, improve the overall picture of pony and handler (and may be compulsory at some Shows). There must be no individual stud, person or pony names displayed in any way in the ring e.g. on clothing, rugs, saddle cloths. Whips or show canes carried must not exceed 30" in length. Spurs may not be worn in ridden classes.
  2. TRIMMING/CLIPPING: The pony's ears may be trimmed flat but there must be no trimming inside the ear. Trimming of whiskers on the jawline is acceptable. Manes and tails must not be pulled but tails may be rough trimmed to clear the ground if dragging. Leg feathers must not be trimmed. No false hair, artificial colouring or make-up should be used. Working ponies of four years old or over only may be clipped in the interest of welfare. Under no circumstances should foals be clipped. Ponies should always be shown in a clean condition.
  3. TACK/EQUIPMENT: Colts/stallions of two years old or over must be shown bitted. Younger animals and older females may be shown in a suitable headcollar. For In-Hand showing, only plain, English-style jointed or straight bar snaffles are permitted. Chifneys or other similar bits are not acceptable. For ridden classes, no complicated snaffles with excessive cheek pieces are permitted. In the interests of safety, handlers aged 14 years or under must wear a hard hat when exhibiting in In-Hand classes. Hard hats must be worn by all ages of exhibitors in ridden classes.

NPS America Shetland Breed Representative:

See Links section for listing of Shetland Pony Societies

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