Highland Pony Characteristics
The Highland Pony is one of the three native pony breeds of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, still in existence today. It has adapted over many centuries to the variable and often severe climatic and environmental conditions of Scotland. The winter coat consists of a layer of strong, badger like hair over a soft, dense undercoat which enables this breed of pony to live out in all weathers. This coat is shed in the spring to reveal a smooth summer coat. This essential hardiness is combined with a kindly nature and an even temperament.
Traditionally, Highland Ponies were used as all purpose utility ponies by Highland farmers and crofters. There sure-footedness, placid temperaments and willingness to work coupled with their immense stamina making them idea for the work over the rough and often inhospitable terrain. They are also traditionally associated with deer-stalking, being used to carry the carcass back after a successful hunt.
The Highland Pony makes an excellent family pony, being capable of carrying an adult with ease but gentle enough for a child, in fact with in Australia and Britain the Highland Pony with it's trustworthy and dependable nature are often used as sturdy mounts for people with disabilities.

Photo of Lois McCulloch and a pony ghillie on a Scottish estate
Below shows some highland ponies in the traditional deer saddle and panniers.
Photo credit Lois McCulloch, on a Scottish estate

Highland Pony Breed Description
The Highland Pony is a strong, well balanced, compact pony with all its features being in proportion to its height. It is one of the largest of the British Native Breeds and should show substance and strength.

HEIGHT: Not to exceed 14.2hh (148cms).
HEAD: Well carried and alert with kindly eye. Broad muzzled with a deep jowl.
NECK AND SHOULDERS: Reasonable length of neck from wither with a good sloping shoulder and well placed forearm.
BODY: Well balanced and compact with plenty of room for heart and lungs. Ribs well sprung.
QUARTERS AND HINDLEGS: Powerful quarters with well developed thigh, strong second thigh and clean flat hocks.
LEGS: Flat hard bone, broad knees, short cannon bones, oblique pasterns and well shaped broad dark hoofs. Feather soft and silky.
MANE AND TAIL: Hair should be natural, flowing and untrimmed with a full tail.
ACTION: Straight and free moving without undue knee action.
CAPABILITIES: A ride, drive and pack animal which can adapt to many equestrian disciplines. Many are also natural jumpers.
WHITE MARKINGS: White markings are discouraged and stallions with marking other then a small star are NOT eligible for licensing.

Photo of Harkaway Lodge McMillan, Highland Pony stallion.
Showing Recommendations for In-hand and Ridden Classes

The pony should be shampooed, or thoroughly groomed to look and feel absolutely clean. The mane and tail should be brushed out well. There should be no pulling, plaiting or trimming of mane, forelock or tail, nor the feather on the legs. Excessive hair under the chin, etc may be discreetly laid. Hoofs should only be oiled. Eye or other cosmetic make-up must not be applied under any circumstances. No false hair in the mane, forelock or tail is allowed. Please note that white markings of any sort should not be disguised. In order to compete in affiliated showing classes, a Highland Pony stallion of 4 years old and over must be fully licensed.
For the ridden pony's welfare, it may be clipped for winter competitions or hunting. However whiskers, ears and feather on the legs should be left untouched and no other trimming is permitted.
The handler should be dressed in smart clothing.
Stallions should wear a strong stallion bridle with a straight bar or snaffle bit. A chain or leather coupling and white rope or leather lead rein is attached. It is normal for a stallion to wear a roller with one side rein, correctly fitted, on the off-side. Mares, geldings and young stock should wear a show bridle or good quality brass-mounted headcollar with a snaffle bit attached by bit straps and a white cotton or leather lead rope. A cotton rope halter may also be used. Foals should wear a leather foal slip with a white webbing lead rope or a cotton rope halter with an extra long lead rope.
Harkaway Lodge Ginger.
Tashieburn MacDuff
The rider should wear breeches and boots or jodhpurs and jodhpur boots, with a tweed jacket, shirt and tie. A hat to current standard should be worn when mounted. The rider should always wear gloves and have a showing cane or whip. (N.B. Certain ridden classes have rules on canes and whips.)
The pony should wear tack which is safe and immaculately clean. The bridle may be a double bridle, pelham or suitable snaffle. However on a novice pony a suitable snaffle bit must be used. The saddle must be well-fitting and in good condition.
Harkaway Lodge Glengarry.
The highland Pony is a rear breed and is listed as VULNERABLE by Rear Breeds Survival Trust. (This means there is only between 500-900 registered breeding females)