On October 3rd and October 6th Aberdeen Northern Marts held an impressive show and sale of ‘Pedigree Shetland Ponies’ which was held online exclusively via i-bidder.com. This is the fiftieth year the sale has run, showcasing 133 ponies of various breeds and ages. It was a unique opportunity for buyers from all over the world to purchase the ponies directly from the Shetland Islands. These extraordinary animals have been bred on Shetland for over 2000 years, where the harsh climate and scare supply of food has meant over time they have developed into hardy animals.
The versatility of this pony breed is truly remarkable, having previously been used for riding, driving, and pack purposes. Shetland Ponies have an intriguing history: If you were to pick any point on the island to stand you would be no more than four miles from the sea, and it is known that during harsh winters the lack of grazing would cause these intelligent animals to forage for seaweed along the Shetland shores.
For their size Shetland ponies are the strongest of all horse breeds. They have held varying roles all over the world from the expected; carrying peat and people on the island, to the more unexpected use of the hair from their tails being used for fishing lines by horse-owning fishermen. During the Industrial Revolution ponies were transported to mainland Britain and towards the east of America to work underground hauling coal. Thankfully pony mines have ceased to exist since 1971.
This is the fiftieth year Aberdeen Northern Marts have held a show and sale of Pedigree Shetland Ponies highlighting their continuing popularity and the reputation of the sale itself. The auction was held in conjunction with The Shetland Pony Stud Society, which specifically looks after the welfare of Shetland ponies throughout the UK. The Shetland Islands are not easily accessed by road, however as the sale was held online, this meant that buyer’s did not need to attend the sale in order to purchase. The success of this sale is evident as a grand total of 106 Shetland ponies were sold via i-bidder.com, hammer prices ranged from under £100 to a top selling Bay Could Turn Black Mare pony, born in 2009, which fetched an impressive £1,600.