One of the animals I really wanted to see when we were visiting Shetland were the Shetland Ponies. I’d seen the cute pictures of Shetland ponies wearing fair isle cardigans. Neil bought me a birthday card with the Shetland ponies wearing fair isle cardigans while we were wandering through Lerwick. Very cute.
The photographs of Vitamin and Fivla were taken for the Scottish Tourist Board to encourage people to Visit Scotland in 2013. We love visiting Scotland and don’t really need much encouragement. Although we prefer it when it isn’t midge season! Although, midges apparently aren’t a problem on Shetland in any season! Big Bonus.
We were not disappointed! We adored the Shetland Ponies. They must be very popular with Shetlanders as we saw lots of them when we travelled around Shetland for the week.
On our trip to Northmavine we stopped at Braewick Cafe and ate the most deliciously light slice of home baked Victoria Sponge with a pot of tea. Delicious. This cafe had an amazing view of the Drongs from the window where I was sitting on a big squishy sofa. Neil enjoyed coffee and chocolate cake. Gosh, its starting to sound like we spent a lot of our time munching delicious cake… honestly… we didn’t! Well, not too much time! In our defence we were on holiday and enjoying two birthdays and our wedding anniversary in the same week.
In the corner of the cafe there was a glass cabinet full of beautiful fair isle hand knit gloves, beanies, tams, fingerless gloves and bags amongst other types of crafts. I noticed that Kate Davies pattern Sheep Heid seemed to be particularly popular in the beautiful natural sheep colours of wool that she used in her pattern.
We turned left onto the road and quickly crossed a cattle grid. Soon after this I saw a passing point near 4 shetland ponies. I couldn’t resist stopping to say hello to them.
Neil asked if they would act like the shetland sheep – who pretty much universally, as soon as they saw me trying to photograph them, turned their backs on me and showed me the tail – I said confidently, they’ll be friendly, they’re ponies! Ponies like people!
Well, what can I say, these 4 definitely knew how to smooze the tourists.
“Shetland Ponies are hardy and strong, in part because the breed developed in the harsh conditions of the Shetland Isles. In appearance, Shetlands have small heads, sometimes with dished faces, widely spaced eyes and small and alert ears. The original breed has a short, muscular neck; a compact, stocky body; short, strong legs; and a shorter-than-normal cannon bone in relation to its size. A short broad back and deep girth are universal characteristics, as is a springy stride. Shetlands have long thick manes and tails and dense double winter coats to withstand harsh weather.” Wikipedia
They were soon on a major charm offensive… and we were loving them…
We were standing on the verge surrounded by the ponies when a chap pulled up and said “hello”. Then he took a quick glance around and said, “you’ll need these” and handed us 4 carrots, one for each pony.
It was so much fun feeding 1 carrot to each pony!
We spent ages with the ponies, patting them, talking to them and photographing them. They were brilliant!
What wikipedia (full of interesting facts about Shetland ponies) fails to mention is how sweet natured they are and how incredibly photogenic they are.
Particularly so, in the sunshine with a breeze catching their long manes and tails.
So beautiful… sigh…
“Shetland ponies have heavy coats, short legs and are considered quite intelligent. They are a very strong breed of pony, used for riding, driving, and pack purposes.” Wikipedia
Of course, it wasn’t long until they had another visitor… And were causing a traffic jam in the middle of the road with a taxi who was trying to get along the road from the other direction and had two cars and 4 ponies blocking his way.
At this point, Neil and I thought, it was time that we moved on and allowed the traffic to pass. We continued on to our next stop a walk along the top of the cliffs at Eshaness.