Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Highland ponies and deer stalking

 Native highland ponies

 The highland ponies we saw at Glen Feshie were very large and chunky for a pony, as you can see from the photos - they are more like a draft horse build.

 Highland pony

 They have been intentionally bred to be like this, so that they could be used for their many jobs in the Highlands of Scotland.

Their strength and size would have made them a suitable mount as a war horse, as far back as the days of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. It is said that Robert the Bruce faced the attack of the army of King Edward II, sat astride a Highland pony.

Other jobs they have had over were as pack ponies, transporting goods in large wicker panniers attached to a wooden pack saddle. They were used on farms, where the crofters used them for ploughing, forestry, and haulage. In later years, Country Estates found the Highland pony useful for bringing game and deer down from the hills.  The ponies handlers are often called ghillies and the ponies are called garrons.

This is a job some of them still do - as was mentioned in my last blog 
The ponies of Glen Feshie

Their size ranges from 13hh - 14.2hh (132cms - 148cms) but they are very very strong for their size.  It is said they can carry up to 17stone.  A full grown stag could easily weigh that much and they carry these across the hills after a days hunting.

White Highland pony

If you want, you can pay lots of money to one of the large Scottish estates in the Highlands and try this for yourself ( not the carrying of the stag - but joining a shooting party ! )


I would just like to mention that although deer stalking is regarded by many as a necessary part of Scottish life, I do not personally endorse it - I am against all blood sport.

Beautiful Highland pony

Please click on any of the photos to see them larger.

If you want to purchase my horse prints, many of them are available to buy from my website or my etsy shop

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