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Shetland Research

Catherine Munro

Originating from the sub arctic landscapes of Shetland, the Shetland pony is the UK's most northerly native breed of horse. I am living in Shetland to study Shetland ponies as part of a project researching human-animal relationships in northern places (

Through my research I will examine historic and contemporary relationships between people and ponies in Shetland.

I will spend time with ponies and breeders to learn how people and ponies get to know each other. Shetland ponies are often described as patient, intelligent and quite independent. I am interested in how traits like this are understood, identified and selected in breeding practices.

The Shetland pony has such a long and fascinating history and I will explore the role this history plays in peoples experiences of Shetland ponies today and to what extent this shapes ideas about the future of how the breed should (and should not) be.

There are over a hundred registered Shetland pony breeders in Shetland and I want to learn more about why people feel connected to the breed and how breeding ponies is connected to Shetland history and identity.

Shetland's landscapes played a huge role in the evolution of the breed and I want to consider the continuing influence of landscape on ponies bred on the islands today.

I am also interested in the influence of the Shetland pony worldwide. Northern places are often through to be peripheral and I want to explore how the Shetland pony has been influential worldwide. They are bred in many countries, often by breeders with a huge interest in Shetland and with a good knowledge of the breed history. I hope to work with international breeders to understand their breeding practices and how these practices connect to Shetland ponies in Shetland.

I have set up this page to connect with Shetland pony breeders, to share my research and to chat about all thing pony!

Feel free to contact me with ideas, opinions, articles, etc., on Shetland ponies, Shetland breeds or native breeds in general!

If you would like to participate in this research, by phone, email or skype, meeting up over coffee or introducing me to your horses, I would love to hear from you!

Phone: 01806 566 365