Eriskay Pony


PetMD Editorial

Published Dec. 20, 2009

The Eriskay Pony comes from the Western Isles of Scotland, specifically Eriskay Island from which the breed garnered its unusual name. This rare horse breed is generally used for riding or light draft work.


Physical Characteristics

The Eriskay Pony is a small horse that does not exceed a height of 13 hands (52 inches, 132 centimeters). Typically, the ponies are colored gray, although some are piebald and skewbald. There are even occasions when an Eriskay Pony bears white markings on its head and feet.


Personality and Temperament


The Eriskay Pony is said to have an amiable and placid nature, which in combination with its small size, makes it one of the most suitable mounts for children and novice riders. The breed is easy to tame and highly trainable, as evinced by its great success in driving competitions. In fact, some claim that it takes less time to train an Eriskay Pony than any other horse breed.


History and Background


One of the last pure surviving ponies of the Western Isles of Scotland knows as the Hebrides, the Eriskay Pony is actually a result of the combination of Celtic and Norse breeds.

Though numerous in the past, this ancient breed saw a dramatic decline in their numbers in the 19th century due to increased crossbreeding. Such schemes were instituted in an attempt to produce a type of pony that was larger and more capable of helping with work in the fields. Heavy horses from the mainland were used to produce what is called "the cross," while different breeds, like the Norwegian Fjord were used to produce the present highland pony.

The Eriskay Pony remains a rare breed today, but is considered a vital asset to small agricultural holdings, such as those found on the mainland crofts. 

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