The best advice that you will need to get you started in breeding or just owning one or more of these wonderful ponies.

Buying Help

If you are the sort of person that would like your life to be fulfilled with something special maybe like owning a miniature pony or foal then try it.
Some very useful information to help you, when buying a good miniature Shetland pony.
1. Beware when buying a pony if you or the owner cannot quietly walk up to it in the middle of a field and put a head collar on it. 2. Beware when buying a pony from an auction; ask the seller lots of questions to try to make sure that you know what you are buying.
Ask for recommendations from someone else who knows the pony.
There are many breeders that now "farm" these ponies and then round them up at sale time, fit a head collar and sell them cheap. The unsuspecting buyers of these terrified ponies or foals think that they have a bargain until they let them out in a field and then cannot catch them again.
3. If small size is important to you then never accept a ponies height, even when written on a passport or sales list. Always take your own measurements from the highest point of the withers at about the 9th - 11th vertebrae to the floor using a measuring tape or stick. You may sometimes find that most ponies are not as small as the owners say they are.
4. Always check the passport markings against the ponies to make sure that it is the right pony (All ponies should have a Shetland Pony Stud Book Society or (SPSBS) passport). This is now more important than ever with DNA testing now being so common.
Please check out our links to the SPSBS for lots of other information about the breed and the showing of these wonderful ponies. New News 09: As from July 2009 all Shetland Ponies have needed to be chipped with a security tag. This helps make them more secure from theft. If it is stolen it will be easily proven to be owned by someone other than the present keeper. The chip detectors are cheap at £35 and available to all of the police and anyone who wants to own one on Ebay.
5. A discerning breeding-buyer should buy for good conformation and good bloodlines firstly; colour is or should be of secondary consideration having acquired the correct quality bloodline. However if coloured ponies are your preferred interest because they sell for more money, then please be aware that it is very difficult to breed good quality well marked coloured ponies and so there are much less of them around which is why they cost more. We at the Fairytail Stud have one of the largest collection of coloured miniature Shetland ponies in the World.
6. We have found that most good owners and breeders will have their ponies inoculated for Tetanus every two years and this will show in their passports. If owners are prepared to pay the small cost for this it usually means that they have loved and cared for their pony properly. The best owners and breeders will sometimes go much further by regular worming, we do, and even regular flue and strangles jabs.
7. Be prepared to pay a little more for something special, at the end of the day you really do get what you pay for if you follow these rules.
8. Follow your instinct, if you like the people that you are dealing with and get there trust then go with it. Recommendations are worth ten times the research. Janette and Selwyn at the Fairytail Stud have many letters of recommendation that we will show to anyone interested in buying one of our ponies.
We have sold many ponies that have helped all sorts of children's behaviour problems. You can trust us.

Foaling Tips

How we monitor the pregnant mares. Always watch your mares 24 hours a day in the last month prior to foaling. Miniatures are much more prone to having some problems than larger horses.
We use CCTV to watch the mares in the stables and the main barn.
We do a shift pattern so that we do not miss a foaling by a few minutes. We have cameras in all the stables which are linked to all the TVs in the house.
I watch the ponies at foaling time from early evening until 4 – 4 30am then I go to bed and Janette sets her alarm clock for 5am, we sleep apart at this time of year. Janette wakes up to the alarm and drinks a caffeine drink to then keep her awake for the next few hours while I sleep.
When a foal is coming, I usually sort it in the night or we both get up and sort it out in the early morning, sometimes two or three times a night.
I do not know how we keep it up but it is very rewarding when we succeed and save foals that would have died had we not been there. I estimate that I save about 20 - 40% of the foals by being there and acting to save the foals as necessary.
With regard to foaling monitors, we have tried most and they all have their faults which have cost lives, we now choose to use our eyes and cameras with the odd foaling alarm used as a backup near the end when there are just a few to go. We have found that the American swinging monitors are the best. The ones that have neck sweat censors do not work on mini Shetlands.
Actual foaling tips.
The gestation time for a horse is approximately 11 months, or 340 days but in miniatures it can be as early as 315 days, we have found that 326 days would be a good average.
It is best to be in attendance at the foaling’s because the mare may have a problem and you can frequently help them and the foal, mare, or both. We give our mares a tetanus injection one month before foaling. This also gives the foal immunity which is important. You need to have all the preparations made and ready to go about 2 weeks before the first birth is expected; you never know when it might happen early.
Have a clean stable prepared with clean, dry straw bedding. We bring the mares in about 2 week’s before giving birth so they are comfortable and settled. Sometimes we let them run in the yard or paddock during the day when we can still watch them as many of them will give birth in daylight hours.
We make up a birthing kit to carry us through the season. This consists of: Tail wraps. A small bucket for warm water a bottle of Hibiscrub and a clean cloth to clean mare's vulva and bag. Purple spray or Iodine spray to put on the umbilical stump. Micralax Enema to give to foal after birth if needed to help to get rid of the meconium or first stool. Clean towels to dry off the foal. Hibiscrub disinfectant to clean your hands and arms. Lubrel lubricant. There are some signs to watch for showing that a birth is imminent.
The mare’s rear end around the tail will go soft as the area starts to relax. The vulva will start to lengthen as the mare dilates. The mare's teats will sometimes wax up 12 to 24 hours before foaling. A small bead of waxy milk will appear. The mare may stop eating, be restless, getting up and down and rolling to get the foal in position. She may start to make a few sharp movements looking around at her belly.
She may sweat when very near to foaling. A bubble may appear from the vulva, or the water sac may break. Any or all of these things might be noticed and should be taken as a sign of an imminent birth.
If you do not have cameras and keep going to the stable to check on the mare then you will need to be whisper quiet as a mare can and will stop foaling even with just one minute to go if she senses danger, this is why very few foaling’s are ever witnessed without surveillance cameras. When the mare lay's down and starts to get he contractions, this is when you can move in with her to help.
You need to be sure she is not lying against the wall so that it is easier for you to check that everything is coming alright, minis are small enough to pull around to a better position. We usually help to pull the foal out once it is coming correctly and especially on a first timer, we have found in the past that the mares sometimes rest while the foal is half way out and this is no good for the foal if there is prolonged pressure on the chest or umbilical cord.
Be sure to get the sac off the foals head immediately so it can breathe. When possible let the foal lie for a minute or so with the umbilical cord attached as often blood is still being pumped into the foal for a short period before the umbilical stump seal's ready for the detachment when mum get's up. If the cord breaks too quickly and blood is flowing out of the foals umbilical stump you must put pressure on it quickly with your fingers for a minute or so to allow the valve to close then spray the area with iodine.
Mini foals range in size at birth from 12” to 20”, weighing from 12 to 20 lbs. After the foal is delivered, both mare and foal may rest for a few minutes. We usually move the foal to be in front of the mare after a couple of minutes so she can lick it dry and start bonding with it, but only do this if the umbilical cord has broken. If the cord is still intact leave them alone as long as they will lay there. When the mare stands, the cord with come away from the foal cleanly, this is the time to spray the umbilical stump with the purple spray or iodine spray.
If the sac is still hanging from the mare tie it up in a knot to keep her from walking on it and to help it come out of the mare clean. Never pull on it to get it out. If the mare hasn't passed it in about three or four hours you will need to call the vet.
Always check the afterbirth to be sure none was left in the mare, or save it for your vet to check. After all the business of birthing is over, then it is time to imprint the foal.
We sit down in the pen with the mare and foal. We rub the entire body, with a towel and our hands; this helps to desensitize the foal and helps it to bond with us as well as its mum. The foal will then soon stand on its own start to search for the teat. We never interfere at this time as it can confuse the foal. We leave nature to happen.
The foal needs to drink the colostrums from the mare within ideally the first few hours so that it gets immunity to all the nasty bacteria and viruses. If after maybe four hours the foal has not found the teat or has started sucking on the walls, you need to take action as shown below Foal not suckling Check the mare to see if she is still well bagged up, if the foal has suckled you can usually tell because she will be more comfortable and the foal will be settled for a while.
If you think that the foal has not sucked yet then we milk some colostrum from the mare and give it to the foal by a small 5ml syringe squirted into the foal’s mouth. We give the foal as much as we can until it is happy and settled then we leave the mare and foal for another two or three hours knowing that the foal has had its colostrums.
We usually find that this first un-natural feed will give the foal an amazing boost of energy so that it will usually be able to find the teat after a short sleep. If this does not work then we milk the mare a little and start lying on the floor with our arm under the mare with a little syringe full of milk, one of us guides the foal to the syringe and when latched on we guide the foal to the teat. It is tricky work but it does usually work.
If it does not then you need to keep milking the mare and feeding the foal by syringe. We have never had any success at getting a foal to suckle an artificial teat on a bottle. As the foal gets stronger it will eventually find the teat itself by the second day. If not then the foal may have a problem with its sucking reflex or short tongue or its swallowing reflex or something else. Veterinary advice is needed now.
EMERGENCY Placenta Previa or Red bag. In brief if you see a bloody liver coloured bubble coming out of your foaling mare, be ready to slit it straight away and get the foal out as fast as you can because it is suffocating. At a normal foaling the first thing that you see is a fairly translucent bubble usually with a front foot followed very closely by the other front foot and nose. If instead of seeing this cloudy white bubble you see a red bag that looks like liver or velvety textured, that is the placenta which should have ruptured allowing the amniotic sac to emerge from the vulva first. This occurs usually only if the mare has been in hard labour for a while and the placenta due to the terrific forces of contractions has separated from the uterus. Once that happens the foal is no longer getting oxygen through the umbilical cord, but instead is starting to die or suffocate.
This happens sometimes if the foal is mal positioned and the straining of the mare finally separates it, or can be caused by the mare's being fed with haylage infected with an entophyte (type of mould) that causes tough placenta and other foaling problems. It can also be caused by some trauma to the mare such as being kicked very hard or some other disturbance to the cervical area.
When you see a red bag, the first thing is to quickly open it and it is very difficult to do by hand, so use a sharp knife to slit this bag. Don't worry about sanitation, just worry about speed. Then try to feel how the foal is presented and get it out as quickly as possible. If you get the foal out very quickly you may be able to save it, but if the placenta has been separated too long the foal may be born dead. We have saved many foals by being fast and ready for problems. Again only full camera surveillance works with someone watching all the time.
Sometimes a saved foal will still die later if it was starved of oxygen for two long. Apparently retardation can progress quickly although at first they seem normal. Some of them would fall asleep easily and stay asleep too long. This is sometimes called "Sleepy foal". Red bag foaling's are not so common, they can sometimes affect many ponies in many breeding studs in certain years so the weather, grass and feed can all cause this problem occasionally. Leg back Note: Do not panic, if you know what to do it is fairly easy to correct. If you have a leg and a nose coming ok, without bursting the white bubble try to feel for the other leg. If it is not there then cut the bag and feel again with lubrel on your hand and arm. Do not let the whole head come out without both the legs being in front of the nose or you will have a dead foal and ruined mare. This can sometimes be difficult if the mare is pushing hard, you just have to get stuck in and push the foal back in as hard as you can, sometimes you will then feel the foot pop forward. If it does then pull it forward to be in front of the nose with the other leg but not equal to the other leg as the thick leg joints need to come staggered. If the foot does not come forward as you push the foals nose back into mums tummy then just keep pushing until your whole arm is at full stretch inside the mare, usually the feet pop forward at this point, if they don’t then there will now be enough room in the tummy to hook your middle finger around a knee joint to pull the leg or legs forward. Once you are happy that the feet are in front of the nose pull your arm out and let the mare push the foal out if she still has the energy.
If it has been a long time messing about you may need to try to pull the foal out yourself by gripping the front legs inside the mare and pulling it out as she contracts. Sometimes a foaling rope can help but we have rarely had to use it. Head back As with leg back you will feel to see if everything is coming ok. If you ever feel the two ears or whatever you feel feels wrong, I have learned to just push the foal right back in again. This may not be correct as I am not a vet but it usually works for me. Once the foal is back in the larger tummy area it is easier to manipulate the foal until you find the feet and the nose. I once had a foaling where I could not make out what I was feeling, everything was a blob, we called the vet and to my surprise he put his arm in and pulled the foal straight out. I was amazed. He later told me that the foetal sac was around the foal and when he put his arm in he knew straight away what this was by experience and pierced the sac with his carefully sharpened fingernail which he keeps during foaling season. The foal was born dead and the vet said that it had died prematurely which is why it ended up in a tangled ball.
Delivering the Breach Presentation Foal We have only once had this problem and we lost the foal at that time. I have found a web site which explains this situation well. Please click on the link below.


Grass Management

Ideally to ensure the well being of your ponies you need to have good, weed and ragwort free grass. Ideally horses also like clover and mixed herbs in the grass but if possible not buttercups.
A cheap way to clear most weeds is to use a product called Agretox 50 to spray the land with a sprayer on a tractor or to use Grazon 90 if using a back pack sprayer. Well managed grass land can produce much more good grass eating than badly managed land. We have found that the regular use of 25.5.5. Fertilizer applied twice during the growing season works miracles.
It is important to make sure that the land has a pH of 5.6 to 5.9 as grass grows better at this level. We are in an acid soil area and so have to lime our land every six years with 3 tons per acre to keep the pH right. This costs approximately £25 per ton of lime including the spreading.
It is also best to get your soil tested for mineral deficiency; we did this and found that our soil was lacking magnesium which horses need. We have solved this problem by the use of a relatively cheap product called Grass track which costs about £20 a bag which is enough for an acre of land per year.
The regular use of a chain harrow or tine harrow are recommenced as they bruise the grass and loosen the surface of the soil making the grass get more dense which then helps to suppress the weeds. If weeds are a major problem in midsummer then it is best to cut them using a topper.
If you only have a few acres of land then a local farmer will usually perform these tasks for you for an appropriate fee which is usually much less than you think.


Guide Horses

The most affectionate pets that you could ever imagine.

Our healthy well fed and sometimes plump cuddly Shetland Miniatures are wonderfully friendly and loving, they make the most intelligent and affectionate pets that you could ever imagine.

That is why they are now used in America as Guide horses for the blind instead of dogs. They wear children's trainers as shoes so that they do not slip on shiny floors in shops

Health & Welfare

Over the years we have learned a lot about keeping and caring for miniature Shetland ponies. We have read many books and sought all the information that is available on the internet. Surprisingly we have found that there is actually very little information that is relevant to miniature Shetland's.
Worming Advice The most common problem in horses these days is caused by the Small Red worm (Cyathostomin). This small worm is now the most common cause of gastro problems in miniature horses which end up resulting with Hyperlipeamia which is very serious and life threatening. All miniature breeders need to be aware of the fact that these worms are the most common problem worm around and that they need to be controlled effectively and regularly. The best way to control most types of worms these days is to use Equest horse wormer to rid your horses of most normal worm infestations, twice a year and then use the Equest Pramox wormer twice each year to control all the usual worms but to include the tape worms which most other wormers do not control. These wormers are the most effective available but they need to be administered carefully as they can easily kill a pony if they are given in a higher dose than they should be. Please use a weigh tape to assess your ponies’ weight and then dose accordingly. An equest wormer may cost £10 or so but it may do five miniatures so it only costs £2 for each. Please do not try to cheat with cheaper wormers as they just do not work any more, if you cannot afford £2 per pony four times a year for wormer then you should not own and breed these special tiny horses.
Other Contributions Are Welcome We will offer some advice below which may conflict with the views of some other breeders, if so we invite you all to help me by contributing your views to help improve this information, please email:
Smaller Horses Are Different To Larger Horses We have found by experience that miniatures suffer different problems and sometimes more serious problems than Larger horses. For example hyperlipeamia is a common and serious problem with miniature ponies which is where the liver clogs up with fat. This problem does not seem to occur in larger horses and so very little study has gone into the condition. For more information see Hyperlipeamia below.
Minis Are Rarely Poorly In general mini Shetland's are rarely ill if they are kept well, but owners need to be aware of the main problems that can occur from time to time.
Zooepidemicus (The Snots) The most common problem that can occur in young miniatures is something called zooepidemicus, it usually affects foals and sometimes older ponies and the symptoms are usually just a snotty nose but can also make the pony feel a bit down for a few days. The best treatment for this is nothing but time which is usually three months. This is quite contagious and will usually go through most of the foals that are in the same field. It can also give symptoms similar to strangles. If it does no treatment is necessary as this is not a serious condition. Here is a detailed piece about the condition by Ben Moves MA VetMB MRCVS. MINIATURE "COUGHING" HORSES This is the story of a small group of adolescent friends and an embarrassing social disease. Not uncommon. In fact, almost normal in their age group but nonetheless, very debilitating on their performance in the Show ring. They had a cough and the snots. Yearling horses and ponies often develop a cough. This can be accompanied by the complete range of symptoms from frequent coughing, inappetance, and high temperatures, clear and runny nasal discharges to green thick nasal discharges and so on. Some untreated conditions can become very serious and should always be seen by a vet. The causes of Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in yearlings are many. As a rule of thumb, clear runny nasal discharge, off food for a day and then coughing is often caused by a virus. The most common URTI virus is Equine Herpes Virus, type 1 or 4. In fact, investigations have shown that up to 85% of 2 year olds have scroconverted (i.e. been exposed and developed an immune response to Respiratory Equine Herpes). Unfortunately, the immunity is short-lived. Vaccination to EHV 1 & 4 is available from your vet. It is not required for showing (unlike influenza vaccination) and boosters are required every 6 months. Influenza is another URTI and can be severe. It is less common due to vaccination. Vaccines are frequently updated to try and keep up with virus mutation. There are other URTI equine viruses including Rhinovirus of which there are several types. These infections tend to be less severe although this is not always the case. Viral infections are often followed up by secondary 'opportunist' bacterial infections. Although horses and ponies can fight these bugs themselves with rest, antibiotics often help and may be necessary in some cases. Obviously, but rarely, pneumonia can be a complication. Our little group of valuable showing miniature yearlings, however, had green snotty noses, not running, just crusty. When they started coughing they had a day or so of being 'off colour1 but certainly carried on eating. Within a few days they had the full blown disease. Not, very dramatic. Coughing, several bouts a day. And the snots. On examination the yearlings also had a very characteristic sign: the sub-mandular lymph nodes were swollen. The glands just inside the back of the lower jaw on both sides (normally marble sized) were egg-sized and sore to squeeze. They didn't start at once. First there was one, and then a week or so later another developed the symptoms. Attempts at isolation just prolonged the onset of eventual infection. After a month the whole yearling group had it. No other age group was affected. The symptoms were never that bad. Just a cough, snots and swollen glands under the jaw. Powdered antibiotics and Ventipulmin (an oral bronchodilator) seemed to help for a while, but the symptoms didn't really go away. After a month and when it had become obvious there was group involvement I investigated more carefully. I took a nasal swab of the most recent case. It isolated beta haemolytic Streptococcus zooepidemicus. A common bacterium that often lives in horses' and ponies' upper respiratory tracts but can cause disease, especially in young stock - especially in yearlings. The most common treatment in most horse industries e.g. racing, is to leave the horses alone and allow the disease to run its course. This can take time. Up to three months, or more. But SHOWING MINIATURES don't have the time. They should be showing. Some say that horses take so long to recover from the symptoms because they are so mild that the immune system takes longer to realise that it has a problem. I admitted two of the group to our clinic. One was the most chronically (longest) infected, the other the most recent. I x-rayed their chests. They reminded me of my previous days in small animal practice - but the x- rays were normal. Unfortunately, I didn't have a fibre optic endoscope small enough, so I took a blind tracheal wash using a mare catheter and sterile tubing. All the lab grew was beta haemolytic Streptococcus zooepidemicus. I spoke to the Animal Health Trust. I spoke to a specialist vet in the USA. We opted to treat the group with intra muscular cetifur (Excenell) daily for 7 days. The symptoms had disappeared by day 4 BUT a week after we finished treatment back they came, COUGHS, SNOTS and SWOLLEN GLANDS. Now, none of the glands abscessated. This can happen with this bacterium although it cannot cause true Strangles like Streptococcus equi. However, it did hide from the antibiotics in a similar way by living inside lymph node cells. Other treatments were tried, including immune support and homeopathy. These may well have helped. But at the end of the day, the best and only treatment was time. All the symptoms went after three months. Almost to the day.  
Gastrointestinal Tract The most common serious problems that seem to affect the miniature ponies more so than larger horses, especially ponies under 31" are with the gastrointestinal tract. These problems when they occur are very hard to cure because the treatment and drugs that are available can often cause liver failure by Hyperlipeamia before getting on top of the actual problem. The stomach of a horse is very different to that of a cow, cows can eat or be fed all sorts of bad and mouldy hay, straw, haylage and silage without hardly ever having any problems. The stomach of a horse is very different and much more susceptible to problems which are often caused by poor quality hay, haylage and silage. Haylage Is Bad For Small Horses We know many people who feed haylage, we used to ourselves a few years ago, the ponies love it, but often it contains toxic mould and bacteria which the ponies’ livers cannot deal with for long. We also found that haylage causes placenta previa or red bag during foaling. We would recommend never feeding haylage to pregnant mares especially or any miniature ponies on a regular basis with one exception, if you have a pony that has gone off its food, try some fresh haylage for a short time until the pony is eating well again. Colts and Stallions Are More Resilient We have found that stallions and colts seem to be much more resilient to illnesses than their female counterparts even when being born, if you are going to lose a foal it always seems to be a filly. It would be interesting to hear from other breeders if they have had any cases of illness with their colts or stallions. Salt Licks and Naff Blood Liquid One of the most important things that we believe will keep ponies healthy is making sure that they have regular access to a salt lick, real chunks of rock salt are the best but there are plenty of salt blocks available. We have also found that giving a ten day course of Naff Blood Liquid to a pony that is a bit down and not eating properly seems to work well. It is a quick and tasty way of getting the correct balance of vitamins and minerals into the pony. We have also tried the Red Cell liquid but the ponies do not like the taste of that. Strangles Strangles is a very common condition in many horses large or small, it is usually diagnosed by finding an abscess or swelling under the throat, it can be very serious in larger horses but does not seem to be as bad in the miniatures as we have never known anyone who has lost a miniature pony with strangles. If you know different please let us know. It is very contagious and so ponies diagnosed with this need to be isolated until the abscesses burst and then kept isolated for another six weeks. Most ponies are not infectious after this time but a few can continue to be carriers for up to six months.  Hyperlipeamia Hyperlipeamia is the most common serious problem illness in miniature Shetland ponies. It is caused by various things indirectly which then affect the liver, diarrhoea, gastro problems, foaling stress, any type of stress, poor food, eating dead leaves, eating frosty grass, salmonella, being too fat, being given steroids, being given most drugs, being given butte (No miniatures should ever be given butte for more than one or two doses). The list is endless but the result is that these tiny horses have a very specific problem which is directly related to their smallness, they have a very small liver which cannot tolerate any large changes in their blood. When they feel poorly and stop feeding for a while their bodies switch to using body fat instead just like other animals and humans, however in miniature horses this change happens to drastically. The fat goes into the blood so fast that the ponies’ liver gets clogged up fast and when it happens it fails quickly. The first warning signs of hyperlipeamia are on finding a pony that is down in the mouth, lacklustre, no spirit, not eating properly, messing about with their food but not eating. In the later stages the pony will not eat at all even when being force fed, often they will not drink although some drink well. Usually these ponies do not respond to any treatment although we have found that getting a vet to infuse glucose mix into the pony can reverse the fatty blood quickly when it has been caused by a quick stress i.e.: foaling. In the later stages of hyperlipeamia the pony will not want any food or water, it will be grinding its teeth and trying to eat dirt of the floor, it will sometimes try to drown itself in a water trough, and all in all it is very distressing to see a pony at this stage. It is best to have the pony put to sleep before this stage but it is very difficult when the pony is still maybe walking around. If you see the pony pulling its front feet up to its belly it is obviously in great pain, this is the time to call in the angels if not before. Our best advice would be that on finding a pony that does not want to feed in the stable, to put it out on the best green grass even in the winter but to also supplement its feed, put another couple of healthy ponies with it because this will encourage it to keep eating grass. We have recently had a bad period where we had several poorly ponies, who seemed to be getting the same symptoms of Hyperlipeamia but we seem to have pulled them through by throwing them back out into the cold fields and supplementing there feed morning and afternoon with Spillers Mare and Young Stock Mix, 1 scoop per pony morning and night. We have used Dodson & Horell Mare & Young stock mix for years but this year none of the foals wanted to eat it. This is interesting, please comment if you have any further views. Update, we have recently used Baileys Mare and Youngstock mix.
The 2012 winter was a bad year for Shetland breeders; please email me with your experiences so that we can all find the best ways to look after our tiny equines in the future. Our vet has told us that he has put many Shetland’s to sleep in 2012 winter in our area due to Hyperlipeamia. A strange very dry winter with lots of mould in the fields. Horses Live On Protein Not Grass Our vet Ian Taylor of Spire Veterinary practice in Chesterfield, Derbyshire is one of the most knowledgeable veterinary surgeons in the UK. He once explained to me a simple thing but one which has stuck with me. He asked me what do horses live on, I said grass and hay etc. he said no, they live on protein which is produced in the processing of the food that they eat, this is recovered from their colon at the end of the stomach process. It is all about bacteria in the gut and the colon of the ponies being in balance. If something goes wrong with this balance it often causes diarrhoea, we asked him if there is any product that could help to add back the damaged bacteria to correct the balance. He told us of a few but then told us that the best way to get the correct bacteria back into the pony is to feed it some of another healthy horses droppings. This is what new born foals do, they eat mums droppings. It seems bad but our vet explained that the ponies’ droppings are just processes grass or hay which includes the important bacteria just like Actimel for humans. When a pony won’t eat we have found a good way to help them, we get a 20mm syringe and cut the whole end off so that it is just a plunger, and we wrap some tape around the first inch of the plunger so that it does not get stuck at the end. Then we mix a very simple mix of oats-so -simple or ready break with grass nuts and lots of sugar and some boiling water. When cool the mash is semi solid and sticky. We then go to "force" feed the pony. We pull the whole plunger out off the syringe and then keep stabbing the syringe into the paste until it is nearly full, then we put the plunger back in and carefully insert it up into the poorly ponies mouth and then press the plunger. Hey-Presto the sticky mush gets chewed on and swallowed. Sometimes we help it down with a squirt of sugar water. Sometimes we add droppings to this easily by just plunging the syringe into some fresh dropping. We then add sugar water to help the pony to accept the food. Please do not be afraid to try adding bacteria back into your poorer ponies from better ones when they become poorer than the rest. It is only like humans drinking Actimel. There is also another very important lesson for breeders here and that is to not clear up mums droppings to quickly when she has foaled as the foal needs these bacteria to make her gut work. I hope that this information has been useful. Please email me with any further useful information or comments if you disagree, I am not an expert and so will amend any information if we all learn better ways.
Eye Ulcers Eye ulcers can occurs occasionally in horses, the first symptoms are the forming of a white area somewhere on the eye, and this is dead or damaged tissue. Horse’s eyes are very good at healing. As the eye starts to heal lots of new blood cells will form to bring oxygen to the damaged area, this is called Neovascularisation. At this stage the eye can look very bad, being very blood shot and milky. It is best to treat the eye twice a day with Chloromycetin 1% Ophthalmic Ointment. The ulcers will usually clear up after a few weeks sometimes leaving a little blemish.

Needs & Costs

To keep a couple of these lovely ponies you would need a paddock with at least a one acre paddock of well kept grass land with a shelter or stable and clean fresh water must be available by way of an automatic drinking trough.
Filling buckets does not work in hot summer days when you are taking the moment.
If you forget the ponies for just a few days they will die. Setting up an automated drinking system is very easy, it costs about £150 to put a trough in a field with all the fittings and pipe. You need to dig a small trench to bury the pipe though.
They are relatively cheap to keep, eating grass when available or good hay. (Ponies are much happier if they have a companion so it is best to have two if possible).
Cost of keeping a couple of ponies. The cost to keep a couple of miniature Shetland ponies per week is as follows:- If not on good grass then one miniature pony would eat just one or two bales of hay per week at £2 - £4 per bale.
The ponies would need to have their feet clipped three or four times a year which costs about £10 - £15 each time. They would need worming regularly at eight to twelve week intervals depending on the product. This costs about £3 - £4 each time as a £12- £16 syringe will do four little ponies. (One syringe will do four mini Shetland's or one four times).
Veterinary costs are rare if you look after your ponies well. So total cost of keeping a mini Shetland pony for a year is approximately £140 - £200 excluding vet fees which are rare. This is actually cheaper than keeping most dogs if you have a large garden or some grassland. We are not breeding after the 2010 foaling season – but we will use our pet ponies to graze our land and to keep it tidy.

Small Ponies

Please do not confuse these wonderful miniature horses with the slightly larger Falabella’s which used to be the smallest horses twenty years ago, mini Shetlands just got smaller over the years.
Falabella ponies are taller but finer. A pony is just another name for a horse smaller than 14.2 hands so a miniature horse is the same as a miniature pony.
The smallest horse is 17" and is a miniature dwarf Shetland pony in the 2007 Guinness book of records.
We regret that the respected Guinness Book of Records decided to put a faulty horse in its books because it will now encourage bad breeders to breed faulty dwarf horses if they wish to get into the record books.
We will always know that we bred the smallest perfect horse in the World,  we sold it for a tiny price to the best people in the World who may get it to stardom soon in their way, all that matters is that all of our ponies, however special will get a special life and not a commercial un-loved life.


Other Links...

A very good American web site for miniature horses is at  
Here are some lovely web sites that are dedicated to the blind and the lovely ponies that serve them.
Agritech International Benefit from Simple, Safe, Accurate & Cost-Effective Pregnancy Diagnosis 
A nice Shetland pony website by our friends in Belgium If you would like a mutual link to this page please contact us.
Abacus Shetland Pony Stud – Bedfordshire
Acornpaws – Lancashire
Allengrove Shetlands – Cumbria
Athelney Stud – Devon
Avomlie Shetlands – Somerset
Beltoy Stud - Northern Ireland
Brockville Shetland Pony Stud – Devon
Buxted Stud - East Sussex
Claife Stud – Suffolk
Collytown Shetland Pony Stud – Devon
Coppice Shetland Pony Stud – Warwickshire
Equine Clothing
Erray Farm-Registered Breeders - Isle of Mull Glenkee Stud - Northern Ireland Halstock & Blackertor Studs – Devon Hawsker Shetland Stud - North Yorkshire
Helawi Shetlands - Beds, Herts, Devon High Edge Stud – Leicestershire Horninglow Stud – Cumbria Huckerby Stud - East Sussex Kerswell Shetlands – Devon Kuckron Shetland Pony Stud – Shetland Lotuspoint Shetland Pony Stud – Cumbria N.I. Shetland Pony Group Pelara Stud – Lancashire Riccalton Shetlands – Roxburghshire Seagrind Shetland Pony Stud – Shetland Seva Shetland Pony Stud – Ceredigion Sharptor Shetland Pony Stud – Devon South West Shetland Pony Group Tawna Miniature Shetlands – Cornwall Timberland Stud – Gwent Toreagh Stud - Northern Ireland Trondra & Gott Studs – Shetland Tussilago Miniature Shetlands – Northants Varkies Stud – Hampshire Westside Shetland Pony Breeders – Shetland Zennor Stud – Cornwall Shetland Pony Groups & Stud Websites in Europe Furunäs Stuteri – Sweden Lille Rosendal – Denmark Shetlandpony Stud 'Break of Dawn' – Holland Stutteri Abildore – Denmark Stutteri Grubbe – Denmark Stutteri Tusindfryd – Denmark Stutteri Vihrsgården – Denmark Tyeslemore Miniatures – Holland Shetland Pony Tack & Accessories Websites Bennington Carriages Pony Portal sites Other miscellaneous related websites European Shetland Games 2006 Thordale Shetland Driving Centre

Many Amazing Things

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