Born to be Mild: The Pony Rarer Than A Giant Panda


The Eriskay Pony

 It was one rather wobbly step for a pony, but one giant leap for her kind.

Because this newborn foal taking her first steps is one of the rarest breeds of horse in the world – with fewer of the animals left than there are giant pandas.

So her birth has been hailed as a significant milestone in the recovery of the critically endangered Eriskay pony, which is noted for its gentle, calm temperament.

Experts at the CholdertonRareBreedsFarmPark near Salisbury, England  are particularly pleased because the gangly filly, meaning she in turn can one day produce offspring.


The breed, developed by crofters on the Isle of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, was down to just 20 in the 1970s.

Since then, numbers have risen to 300 mares and four purebred stallions, one of whom is the foal’s father.

“They are incredibly rare and endangered,” said the park’s farm manager Alan Talley.

“Over the years on Eriskay the islanders just bred from the quiet, well-mannered ones.

This led to a breed that was easy-tempered. They can live on very meagre rations and have an oily coat that keeps the weather out.

“They also have a long nose so the cold air they breathe in is warmed by the time it reaches their lungs.

“They are tough, endurable and very strong and make ideal ponies for children to use.”



The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, that is amazing. I didn’t even know about this breed. Hope the numbers continue to improve.

  2. Hi there,
    I have an Eriskay pony(98%) and yes he is very gentle natured but he can be very stubborn just because he is so clever. He happily roams around the croft on the Isle of Lewis and loves to eat seaweed. It is lovely to see them in their natural environment.
    They are mostly grey, dappled or brown and blend in so well with the Lewisian Gneiss and heather.
    It is great to see the breed represented on a horse website!!
    I must say though, that although the were bred on Eriskay. The pony is the most ancient scotish native horse. It was the likes of Eriskays that Robert the Bruce rode over the hills, the highland pony is thought to be eriskay pony cross a larger breed.

    Hello Ruth,
    Thank you for the very fascinating information you have given about the Eriskays, especially the connection to Robert the Bruce.

    You describe a lovely scene with your own Eriskay pony. How fortunate you are to have one.


  3. wow,I Have never herd of that breed before,well,I hope there numbers improve fast.

  4. We have 3 Eriskay mares and are looking forward to our first foals.

    I am 10 years old and I LOVE ERISKAY PONIES!!!!:)

  5. Lovely Post, thank you for sharing this photo 😉

  6. I’m a horse lover but I never owned a horse, because I live in the city.I too never heard of this breed.I agree: Eriskai ponies are beautiful.But there is a more rare and endangered breed of horses. It’s called Skyros ponies and they only live in the Greek island of Skyros, nowhere else in the world. It’s not an artificial breed.It’s an ancient (more than 2500 years old) breed which involved naturally in the island.They are small (less than 1m) but well proportioned, much like a miniature horse.Last time I checked they were just over 100 ponies, today maybe less and that’s because none does anything to rescue this rare breed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s