Shetland advice(37 Posts)
I'm a fairly experienced horse owner, with plenty of miles under my belt (until my horse died of extreme old age in 2015). I am planning a replacement horse for riding in the near to medium future. In the mean time my horses stable and small winter 'wandering about' area has been standing empty. The grass got a bit high and we normally bung a few of my ILs sheep on it, but not this year so far...
Anyway. DH has taken a headstagger and bought me a 4 year old Shetland mare to act as a kind of lawnmower, and eventual companion to whatever future horse I get. No problem, I've done this before...only now I'm over thinking it.
I've never had a really little pony and I'm not totally convinced I know what I'm doing. Obviously I'm worming her tomorrow as soon as I get my hands on some paste, will book the vet to microchip and check her, the farrier to trim her feet and Gemma the wonder dentist to sort her mouth out. But I suppose I really want to know is: What am I missing? Is there anything I need to know about shetlands specifically or are they just short, hairy, very typical horses?
I mean I just found out I should avoid haylage to decrease the apparently astronomical risk of laminitis, so now I'm in hyperthought about whether they are a completely different proposition to what I'm used to. This may be because she was a complete and total surprise (as an anniversary present-I bought him a circular saw) and I know nothing about her or her history at all or may be because I am a Shetland novice.
Any advice for me? Please
Look, I'm in such a state of shock I appear to have abandoned all efforts at punctuation. Sorry about that
Shetland are lovely! But also very naughty normally, very strong (and headstrong) and pretty clever.
It sounds like you've got most of it sussed though.
Oh good. I had Connemaras, I can handle naughty and opinionated.
Naughty, opinionated, brilliant fun. I think in many ways you are better off remembering that they are a short, hairy horse and not just a big dog. It doesn't sound like you'd think that at all, but their strength and intelligence can lead to trouble if you're not expecting it.
Other than that, they're not actually the best lawnmowers because of the risk of laminitis. IMO they are great companions, seldom fazed, and have a sort of sedative effect on large, neurotic horses.
I wormed her today and she didn't seem fazed. She let me pick out her feet and fuss round her with no real drama apart from a few mildly threatening faces, so it seems like she has been well handled. She was very interested in DS chirping away at her from outside the gate.
I'm going to cut the grass in our wee turnout zone and tape it into sections so she can't gorge herself into oblivion and sort the teeth/feet/vet once I get her chilled and detangled. DH has been tasked with building a shelter for her as I'm sure she'd prefer to be out in all but the dankest weather.
She's definitely a bit shellshocked poor thing. It seems she was part of a swap for some farm equipment and was earmarked for meat if there were no takers (enter DH).
The things people do to wee animals will never fail to amaze me
Really, REALLY be vigilant with her weight. Laminitis, laminitis, laminitis. They are a bugger for it.
Also fence well! They are good at escaping!
We have three bar post and rail fencing...do I need to do a run of sheep wire inside it or should that cover it?
A Connie is small fry compared to a Shetland when it comes to opinions! They are incredible but definitely a whole new field in equestrianism!
Super vigilant about weight, grass and signs of laminitis. It's highly unlikely you'll need supplementary feed except when stabled when it should be bulk not sugars so no hard feed and rough hay at best generally.
The best analogy l can make is they're like Jack Russell's, a fully blown horse in a pocket side package. Treat them like a horse - manners, exercise and feed according to condition/workload.
Like a Jack Russell they are very intelligent, a bored Shetland is a naughty Shetland. Look at clicker training or something to keep them engaged and active. Your best tool is a sense of humour.
I adore then as a breed. Embrace it and you'll have a whale of a time :-)
Don't take this the wrong way but you need to get some weight off now , this will become your mantra.
Dinky muzzles are your friend - here. They are soft, washable, break away and don't rub.
I love my Shetland.
She is gorgeous and looks a lovely stamp! The are used to living on the scrubbiest of scrubland so do restrict her grazing to avoid lami, and yes they do need keeping in check like a normal sized horse is her headcollar over one ear? They are excellent escape artists too
Yep, she was just off the trailer there, had untied the rope and the head collar half off...
No experience with ownership just wanted to say she is gorgeous.
Such fond memories of my shetlands (and some mildly traumatic ones as well!) but I don't think they are particularly happy on their own
My last one was bullied by the rest of the herd (like the Amazon advert) but was miserable as sin on his own so we got him a goat for a friend, and he was happy as anything
The goat was a very good lawnmower as well, where as the Shetland really wasn't!
Had him for 15 years without laminitis though so it isn't inevitable if you manage the grazing properly
Would you consider breaking her to harness? They are such intelligent animals and driving might stop her getting bored?
My neighbour breeds clydesdales and they are all clustered at the fence gazing at her. She has glared at them and turned her back.
My friend had a retired Cleveland bay x TB that turned into an absolute killer demon when I first led my shetland through my big field one day . This v big, soft, unfit creature had an arched neck, bared teeth, ears pinned back and looked like something out of the Spanish riding school as it came at us.
My friend ran at her screaming and waving a leadrope around like a banshee. It was terrifying.
Let's hope they like her
Well, she certainly seems delighted with my kids. They got the full on snorty whinnies today and some pleasant ears-pricked study of them scooting about. The postman got soundly threatened; she charged at the fence with a waspy face on her and he dropped my letters in shock.
A guard pony. Not what I expected at all. Jack Russell is right
Thanks again everyone.
They're known as shitlands for a reason
Very pretty indeed and appealing, but quite overweight already. They are guaranteed metabolic syndrome/ laminitis on anything resembling a good do.
Aww she is lovely OP.
Definetly needs a bit of weight off. I would get some gear and get her lunging. And be prepared to walk her too. Obviously restricted grazing but I find with my section a it's not enough to restrict food, he needs exercise too. Have just spent half an hour lunging and walking him. He is currently in the process of changing from dds first pony to ds lead rein pony. Although dd isn't too heavy for him she is too tall to ride and he just isn't quite ready for much more than a tootle round on the lr so I have to exercise from the ground. Long reining is good too.
They are also pretty good at climbing through, under and over fencing.
She is called Stevie, because she has 70's, Fleetwood Mac hair.
She is very pretty . My part clydesdale was terrified of our shetland for a long time, she could keep him trapped in the shelter or away from the trough for hours at a time just by casually swinging her bottom round, yet she wasn't in the least spiteful and was sweetness and light to everyone else, horse or human! He eventually came round and fell madly in love with her. When she collapsed in the field a few months ago we found him standing guard over her. Shetlands have a way of getting everyone to love them!
Agree with everyone else, vigilance is the key, be very determined to keep the weight off. See if you can get hold of some last year's hay (as long as it has been stored properly and is dust and mould free of course) as it won't be as rich. Even in the summer it's as well to have some in as you might have to get her off the grass and she will still need something to keep her gut moving.
The weight really is the main thing, apart from that they are easy,
as long as your fencing is like Fort Knox promise!
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