Scotland is beautiful but a rugged and tough landscape. It is hilly and mountainous. Over the past years, the people of Scotland have greatly relied on horses as a means of transportation and moving goods around. Many of the Scottish horses were transported to other countries also.

The small and stocky horse breed to deal with difficult terrain!

Having unique attributes, Scottish horses are sturdy and can easily maneuver the mountainous Scottish terrain and bear its harsh weather. Scottish horses are small and stocky, yet very powerful. Instead of large horse breeds, Scots have been using these rugged Scottish ponies for pulling carts.

Different breeds of Scottish horses are friendly horses and are used in many different ways, including riding, transportation, and even for therapeutic purposes—these ponies make great companions.

Are All Scottish Horses Extinct?

Where two Scottish horse breeds—Galloway Pony and Barra Pony—have gone extinct now, Eriska Pony is critically endangered, and Clydesdale and Highland pony are listed as vulnerable horse breeds. So from the six Scottish horse breeds discussed below, only Shetland Ponies are safe from extinction.

Scottish Horse Breeds

Following are the majestic and powerful Scottish horse breeds.

1. Eriskay Pony

Scottish Horse-Eriskay Pony
West!islandman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eriskay pony is a rare Scottish horse breed, hailing from the Outer Hebrides, a group of isles along the west coast of Scotland. This breed has ancient roots in Celtic and Norse breeding. At the beginning of the 19th century, a large number of these small Scottish horses were roaming in the rugged Scottish mountains. However, with time, the number of Eriskay ponies declined due to increasing crossbreeding. Today Eriskay Pony is declared as one of the critically endangered horse breeds.

Eriskay Ponies Population

There are about 300 to 400 Eriskay ponies left in this world. However, only about 17 of them are living on Eriskay Island. It can be said that it is the last surviving Hebridean pony breed.

Interesting Fact

Eriskay pony is a wonderful horse breed that is physically similar to drawings of ponies on ancient stones found in the north and west Scotland.

Key features

Origin: Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Height: 13hh

Weight: 799 pounds

Color: Gray, black, bay, pinto, piebald, and skewbald

Behavior: Adaptable, willing, and passive

2. Clydesdale Horse

Scottish Horse-Clydesdale Horse

Clydesdale horse is one of the most famous draft horse breeds from Scotland. They were named after their area of origin, the Clydesdale. This breed was created in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is a huge and compelling horse breed securing for itself a spot on the list of largest horse breeds. In the beginning, many Clydesdale horses were transported all over the world, especially to Australia and New Zealand.

Why Did the Number of Clydesdale Horses Decrease?

It is widely believed that at some point, over a hundred thousand Clydesdale horses were roaming the region surrounding the Clydesdale River. But today, unfortunately, they are vulnerable to extinction. Their number declined significantly throughout the 20th century as a huge number of Clydesdale horses lost their lives during the world wars. Increased crossbreeding also affected the Clydesdale population.

How Much Does Clydesdale Pony Cost?

Due to their large size and rarity, they often have a hefty price tag. On average, they cost around $2500 to $5000. The most expensive Clydesdale horse was sold for a whopping $212,500.

Interesting Fact

Clydesdale can pull up to 8000 pounds for a short period of time. They can also manage to pull a carriage weighing 250 – 400 pounds for 8 hours.

Key features

Origin: Clydesdale, Scotland

Height: 17 to 18hh

Weight: 700 to 2000 pounds

Color: Bay, brown, gray, black, roan

Behavior: Quite, spirited, intelligent, obedient

3. Galloway Pony

Scottish Horse-Galloway Pony
mjk23, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Galloway pony is an extinct Scottish horse breed. These elegant ponies were larger than the pony of Wales, around 14 to 15 hands high. They were hardworking and active horses and were used for border raids. As they were originated in areas with difficult and harsh weather conditions, these ponies were able to travel long distances despite rough weather. Read about how far a horse travel can in a day.

Interesting Fact

Shakespeare mentioned Galloway pony as “Galloway nags” in Henry IV, Part 2.

“Thrust him down stairs! know we not Galloway nags?”

Key features

Origin: Scotland and Northern England

Height: 14 to 15hh

Color: Light bay and black

Behavior: Working and active

4. Highland Pony

Scottish Horse-Highland Pony

Highland pony is a Scottish horse breed that is one of the biggest moorland pony breeds. While they appear hardy and tough, they actually possess quite an amiable temperament and kind nature.

Used for driving and general riding, these ponies have adapted to harsh environmental conditions—they shed their dense undercoat in spring to give way to a smooth summer coat. Highland ponies are categorized as category 4 “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Today, it is estimated that around 5500 Highland pony horses are left in the world, most of them in Europe.

Interesting Fact

Highland ponies are hardy, efficient, and tough. Also, they are very economical to keep as they have very little upkeep.

Key features

Origin: Shetland Island, Scotland

Height: 14.2hh

Weight: 1102 to 1322 pounds

Color: Yellow, grey, cream,  grey, brown, black, bay

Behavior: Active and friendly

5. Shetland Pony

Scottish Horse- Shetland Pony

Originating from Shetland Island, the Shetland pony is a draught pony. Like some other Scottish ponies, Shetland ponies can also adapt to the harsh weather and environmental conditions. The highland ponies were also transported to the U.S, where they were refined into ponies so that they could be used for riding. Shetland ponies were brought to the United States in the 1800s, but they have been roaming in their native homeland since the Bronze Age. They are one of the oldest horse breeds from Scotland.

What Are the Uses of Shetland Pony?

Shetland ponies are used for pulling carts, riding, and as well as for pack purposes.

Interesting fact:

Shetland Pony is one of the smallest horse breeds in the world.

Key features

Origin: Shetland Island

Height: 11.6hh

Weight: 400 to 450 pounds

Color: Black, dark brown, bay, and chestnut

Behavior: Friendly and gentle

6. Barra Pony

Barra pony is an extinct horse breed from Scotland. They had a unique ability to adapt to harsh weather conditions. They were used for transportation, pulling carts, and pack purposes. Barra pony was a tough and hardy Scottish horse that could easily maneuver the rugged Scottish terrain and weather harsh climates, but they could not survive the crossbreeding and became extinct during the 20th century.

Interesting Fact

Barra pony was one of the toughest and most powerful Scottish horse breeds.

Key features

Origin: Hebrides, Scotland

Height: 14.3 hands

Color: Bay

Behavior: Tough, rugged, and strong

Are Scottish Horses Expensive?

Given that Scottish horse breeds are quite rare and widely sought after, they can have a hefty price tag, rendering them one of the expensive horse breeds. Besides rarity, many other factors like beauty, training, health, age, etc., may also make a horse breed expensive. Other than being rare, Scottish horses are hardy and beautiful, so you can expect them to be expensive.

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