Vi koser oss denne våren – Christine og jeg og ponniene – ponniene står stille og nyter Christines stell og vårbørsting og alle snakker sammen ! Stell gir kontakt –
Stor pågang sist lørdag til drop inn – kan dere som skal ri førstkommende lørdag -sende meld om når dere ønsker å ri så får dere tilbakemelding.
«Gamle stalljenter» Silje,Tamara, Linn-Therese og Helene hadde bursdag i stallen – hyggelig gjensyn for ponniene og oss . Det ble børsting og ridning. Jentene er habile lette,voksne ryttere og de valgte seg Hogdes Embla, Hogdes Eline, Hogdes Evidence og Hogdes Earl Grey . Jentene har kjent onniene fra føll og har ridd dem inn . Stor moro for jenter og ponnier på ridebanen!
- Her 4 av våre aller minste.
Barneridningen har startet opp igjen – se dager og tidpunkter i vår aktivitetskalender.
Noen av våre instruktørjenter har vært på Shetland i sommer og ridd shetlandsponnier på hvite strender.
by Margareth Hunter
Pony Breeders of Shetland Association
For hundreds of years Shetland crofters have relied on their common grazing land, or scattald as it is called on the islands, to supplement their few acres inby land. This common land is usually rough moorland, often heather-clad and usually hilly. At first sight one wonders it can support any stock at all yet the Shetland sheep and the Shetland pony thrive remarkably well on it, both having developed good conversion rates for food and a comparatively high milk yield for nursing off-spring.
The somewhat harsh conditions on the islands over the centuries have eliminated any animals of weak constitution and the result is a hardy breed well adapted to prevailing conditions. The flowing mane and tail, coupled with the thick furry winter coat, are not accidents of nature, they are the Shetland pony’s insurance for survival. Neither is the fact that the ponies are so sure footed an accident. The hills are stony, very uneven and often steep so sure-footedness has become an inbred trait.
The common or scattald does provide shelter. Whatever direction the wind blows, and blow it does with a vengeance, on the wide range of land animals can always find shelter, at the lee side of a hill, by a dry stone wall, in the gully of a burn or in the shelter of a peat bank. If you are driving along a road in Shetland which takes you through the hills, and you see the sheep or ponies on the move, you can bet that, even if you missed the weather forecast, a storm is brewing. The survival instinct is strong.
During the past twenty years many crofters, in an attempt to tend and manage their stock better, have enclosed their portion of scattald with wire fencing but this drastically cuts down the animals’ scope for finding shelter. The crofter has to build shelters in his parks where there is none, but it is doubtful if these are as efficient.
Some of these scattalds give access to the beach and then it is not uncommon to see ponies enjoy a feed of seaware. Again their primitive instinct takes over for you would not see them heading for a beach unless the tide was ebbing. This seaweed, when available, provides extra minerals and nutrients. Because of the salt-laden winds no salt licks are necessary on the islands.
One other important factor provided by the scattald is fresh water. Shetland gets its fair share of water so there is always access to a loch or burn.
Most crofters put their ponies out to the scattald towards the end of May when the longer days are encouraging new growth. They tend to settle down very quickly. This is partly due to fact that the premium stallion is released with them and he soon gathers his brood together. This is where the Shetland pony comes into its own – where it looks just right – free on the open hills with few constraints, free to seek its food, water and shelter. Having said that, it is only fair to add that the Shetland pony has proved extremely adaptable to a variety of climatic conditions throughout the world.
Towards the end of September, when the bloom has gone from the hills, the ponies tend to split from their summer commune and wend their way back towards the crofts whence they came knowing full well that winter is not far away for often in Shetland autumn can be uncompromisingly short. They are taken back to their winter quarters, which are usually the rougher areas of land that have in the past been prised away from the reluctant hills.
We are lucky to be so thoroughly surrounded by the sea for we escape the hard frosts that bind the ground. Snow, for the same reason, seldom lies long but during snowy spells ponies are given hay or sheaves of corn. They scrape away the snow to bare a patch of grass. They are never housed. Any foals to be kept are separated from their mothers in autumn and given a daily ration of hay or barley or small potatoes to keep them in good heart.
In this natural environment the Shetland pony is remarkably free from disease. Our cool climate eliminates many of the flies and parasites that plague ponies kept in warmer climes. Because of the somewhat scanter food supply on the islands it is difficult to find a pony in Shetland that is too fat – a fact that several mainland judges at our local shows have remarked on. This cuts out many foaling problems. Mr A B Fraser, whose pony, Valkyrie, was chosen to be presented to Her Majesty, the Queen, when she paid a visit to Unst in 1960 later had the opportunity to visit his pony in its new, luxurious surroundings. He was extremely impressed but he remarked to the gentleman who showing him round, “It’s marvelous, but Valkyrie is rather too fat.”
If a problem does arise in foaling it is not always possible to get hold of a vet. At that time of year he is a very busy man and the islands being so scattered nothing short of a flying vet would be capable of covering the area. Each area, however, has someone of experience and knack who can retrieve a foal that is back or do whatever is necessary.
In 1967 an old DC3 aeroplane landed at Forneby Airport in Oslo, the plane came from Shetland and had a somewhat unusual cargo. The cargo was Shetland ponies – twenty fillies and thirteen colts, they were the first Shetland ponies to be documented on Norwegian farms. This first import of Shetland ponies to Norway came about as a result of the association between Per Helgan, the importer, and Jim Smith of the well known Berry Stud Farm on Shetland, purchaser and advice giver. Together with Per Helgan on that first trip were Olav Skoe and Alfren Tobiassen.
We know that there were Shetland ponies in Norway before this, as eighty year old Lars H. Lende from Stavanger imported aproximately forty ponies from Shetland via Gray in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1963.
In this tentative beginning for Shetland ponies in Norway, there was no proper system for registering, therefore the species had no show rights. This was probably the reason that Lende never realised the value of the imported ponies, as these were imported solely for work ponies or for children’s use, without details of stud, bloodlines, etc. Therefore we can assume that there are still ponies in Norway without such papers.
Per Helgan took his second trip to Shetland in 1970, accompanying him on this trip were Hjalmar Torp, Ambjorg Dahl, and as last time, Olav Skoe. This visit resulted in another thirty-six new Shetland ponies in Norway. Among the ponies, the most impressive were Ace of Mousa (NS 054) and Merry Boy of Berry (NS 03). These ponies had been at stud for several years before comng to Norway.
Per Helgan took six trips to Shetland from 1967 – 1975. He and his business partners imported a total of 274 ponies, and to quote Per Helgan “without help from Jim Smith, it would not be good to say how the ponies would have looked!”. All the earlier transportation was done by plane, but in 1983, twenty ponies arrived in Bergan by boat.
Up to the present, Per Helgan has bred 96 ponies, which over the years have carried his name. Many of today’s owners have ponies with the “Helgan” name and we still see the “Helgan” name in the showring.
The first show which was open for Shetland ponies was held in Dyrsku’n in Selfjord. That took place in 1969, judged by G. Halling Neilsen from Denmark. Paradoxically it took two more years before the first Shetland ponies were registered.
The earlier imported ponies without papers created gret frustration to the owners and stud books, at first being imported for work and children’s ponies, but later on used for breeding. The Norwegian Stud Book opened a B registration section for these ponies.
Artikkelen er hentet fra Pony Breeders of Shetland Association.