Highland Pony: Fighting For Independence

| Updated: January 16, 2023
Highland Pony Galloping

Origin and History:

The Highland Pony is a breed of pony that has been around for centuries, living in the harsh and rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands. It is believed that they originated from the original Celtic pony, which was brought to Scotland by the ancient Celts. Over time, these ponies were crossed with other breeds, such as the Arabian, to create the Highland Pony. They developed a hardy and versatile nature, making them suitable for working in the difficult terrain of the Highlands, as well as being a popular choice for use in the Highland Games.

You may remember the movie Braveheart depicting the first war of Scottish Independence. Mel Gibson played the historical figure Sir William Wallace often with a large bay horse. The real Sir William Wallace of Scotland rode a Highland Pony during the war in the late 1200s to early 1300s. Making this breed a permanent part of Scottish and English history.

The Highland Pony was often used for a variety of tasks, such as plowing fields, hauling goods, and working in forestry. They were also used as riding mounts and were particularly popular with the MacGregors, who were known for their horsemanship. The breed was officially recognized by the Highland Pony Society in 1906, and since then, the breed has been carefully managed and bred for the traits that make them excellent working horses.

Physical Characteristics:

The Highland pony is a hardy, versatile breed of small horse known for its thick coat and sure-footedness. They are typically between 13 and 14.2 hands high, making them a great size for equestrian activities such as riding, driving, and even some show jumping. Highland Ponies come in a variety of colors, including bay, chestnut, black, dun, and gray. They have thick, wavy manes and tails that protect them from the cold, and their thick coats are also great for keeping them warm in the cooler climates they are typically found in. Highland ponies are known for their longevity, with a life expectancy of up to 30 years. They are also quite intelligent, making them easy to train and handle. The Highland pony is an excellent choice for riders looking for a reliable, hardy companion for the long haul.

Highland Pony looking off into the distance

Unique Characteristics:

The Highland Pony is an incredibly unique breed of horse. This breed is particularly known for its hardiness and strength, making it a great choice for a variety of tasks. The Highland Pony is a small pony, usually standing between 12 and 14 hands high, and weighing between 400 and 500 kilograms. It is well-muscled, with a short, neat head and long, sloping shoulders. It has short, strong legs, and a thick, shaggy coat. The Highland Pony has a gentle and friendly disposition, and is very sure-footed and sure of itself, making it a favorite for riding. Its unique characteristics make it an ideal breed for riding, driving, and other activities. It is sure-footed on a variety of terrain, and its thick coat helps protect it from the cold and wet weather. The Highland Pony is also known for its intelligence and willingness to learn, making it a great choice for those looking to train a horse. With its unique characteristics and friendly

Interesting Facts:

Highland ponies are one of the most beloved and recognizable horse breeds in the world, and there are plenty of reasons why! Here are five interesting facts about Highland ponies that you may not know:

First, Highland ponies have a long and proud history. They are descended from horses that were introduced to the Scottish Highlands during the Iron Age. They were favored by the Celts and used as war horses by the Picts!

Second, Highland ponies are incredibly hardy. They have adapted to the harsh climate and rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands, and they can survive in just about any environment.

Third, Highland ponies are incredibly strong. They can pull loads of up to two tons!

Fourth, Highland ponies have a very distinct appearance. They are typically black, brown, or gray in color, with a thick mane and tail.

Finally, Highland ponies are incredibly intelligent. They are known for their problem-solving abilities.

Sports and Competitions:

Highland Pony ceremony picture

The Highland Pony is a sure-footed and resilient breed, making them a perfect choice for sports and competition. Their enthusiasm and willing attitude make them a joy to ride and train, and their versatility and athleticism really shine in the show-ring. From dressage and show jumping to eventing and endurance riding, Highland Ponies excel in all disciplines. Their bravery and intelligence make them a great partner for all horse sports. The Highland Pony is sure to add a touch of Highland style to any event, with their luxurious manes and tails, and a graceful and majestic presence. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, the Highland Pony’s gentle and reliable temperament allows them to be enjoyed by all. So why not try something a little different and give the Highland Pony a go!

Diet and Nutrition:

The Highland Pony is a hardy breed of horse that can thrive in a variety of climates, but that doesn’t mean their diet and nutrition needs are any less important. An adequate diet for a Highland Pony must contain a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. This can be achieved through a combination of high-quality hay, grass, and grain, as well as other supplements. Proper nutrition is especially important during the winter months, when the Highland Pony’s grazing options are limited. The Highland Pony is also prone to obesity, so it’s important to keep their diet in check and make sure they’re not overindulging in treats. With the right diet and nutrition plan, a Highland Pony can lead a long, healthy, and happy life.

Common Health Issues:

Highland ponies are a hardy breed of horse, but just like any horse, they can develop health problems. It’s important to be vigilant and look out for any signs of illness or injury, so your Highland pony can stay healthy and happy. Common health problems to look out for in Highland ponies include laminitis, colic, and respiratory issues.

Laminitis is a painful inflammation of the sensitive laminae in a horse’s hoof, and is often caused by eating too much grass or grain, or by standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Look out for a shifting of weight, unwillingness to move, and a reluctance to bear weight on the affected hooves.

Colic is a very serious problem that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Look out for signs such as rolling, kicking at the abdomen, lying down and getting up, signs of pain, and not eating or drinking.


Grooming a Highland Pony is an incredibly rewarding experience! Not only does it help to keep them looking and feeling their best, but it also gives you an opportunity to bond with your pony and show them some extra love. Plus, it’s a great way to check for any skin or health issues that might be lurking beneath their luxurious coat. Start by brushing their coat with a body brush to remove any dirt and debris. Next, use a soft brush and mane comb to remove any tangles. Finish up with a hoof pick to ensure their hooves are clean and healthy. With a little extra care and attention, your Highland Pony will be looking and feeling their very best!

Famous Examples:

The Highland Pony is a breed of pony that is native to Scotland and has presumably been around since the 8th century BC. This breed is well known for its hardiness and strength, and they have been used in many different applications throughout the years. They have been used as work horses, pack animals, and even in the entertainment industry. Perhaps the most famous Highland Pony in history was the one ridden by Sean Connery in the James Bond movie, “From Russia with Love”. This pony was known for its ability to perform stunts and travel at an incredible speed. It also proved to be a vital part of the movie and helped to make it an iconic classic.

Where to Adopt or Buy:

Are you looking for a four-legged companion that’s sure to make you stand out from the crowd? A Highland Pony might just be the right fit for you! Highland ponies are one of the most beloved and versatile of all the pony breeds. They are strong, hardy, and have an impressive ability to adapt to various climates and terrain.

If you’re looking for a Highland Pony to add to your family, you have a few options. If you’re interested in adoption, there are many horse rescue organizations that specialize in rescuing and rehoming Highland Ponies. You can also purchase a Highland Pony from a reputable breeder or even from an online marketplace. Whichever route you choose, make sure to do your research and ask plenty of questions to ensure you get a healthy, happy pony!

Highland ponies standing at rock wall fence.


The Highland Pony is an incredibly versatile and hardy breed of horse that is sure to bring joy to any horse lover. With its high intelligence and loyalty, the Highland Pony is truly a unique breed. It is an excellent horse for both riding and driving, and its sure-footedness makes it well-suited for mountain and moorland terrain. The Highland Pony is also relatively easy to keep and is known for its strong bond with its owners. All in all, the Highland Pony is a perfect mount for any horse enthusiast looking for an adventure, and its hardiness and intelligence make it a wonderful companion.


The Highland Pony is a truly remarkable breed! It is one of the oldest, most versatile, and hardy breeds of horses in the world. The Highland Pony is a strong, sure-footed, and sure-tempered equine that is well-suited to a variety of activities, from leisurely trail rides to more demanding pursuits such as show jumping and dressage. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about the Highland Pony.

What is the history of the Highland Pony?

The Highland Pony is believed to have originated in Scotland, where it was used for centuries as a working animal for farming, forestry, and transportation. Over time, the breed was selectively developed for its strength, intelligence, and sure-footedness. Today, the Highland Pony is recognized as an official breed by the American Pony Society and the United Kingdom’s Traditional Pony Society.

BuzzPetz Staff Author Image
BuzzPetz Staff

Temporary BuzzPetz About Us

Read More

Leave the first comment

More From BuzzPetz

Before you go - You'll want to check out these articles!
[ultimatemember form_id="4648"]

Already a member?

Login Here

[uwp_register id="3" title="register"]

Not a member?

Register Here