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The Eriskay pony is a rare breed from Scotland. They are born black or bay but turn grey as they age.
Originally from the Hebrides (Scottish Islands) and named after one of the islands they were used for light draught work and for carrying loads such as peat and seaweed. They have a thick coat which helps protect them from the harsh weather of the islands. They are also well adapted to surviving on little food.
There was a lot of cross breeding in the 19th century which reduced the number of pure Eriskay ponies, in fact the purebred ponies only survived due to the poor access to the islands making crossbreeding there difficult. The cross breeding, in addition to increased mechanisation, meant that the population dropped to only around 20 in the 1970's. With just 1 stallion remaining, Eric, a group of islanders managed to save the breed. Every Eriskay pony is now descended from Eric and the 20 mares. Numbers have increased but the breed is still considered Critical by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
In 1941 a cargo ship called the SS Politician sank off the coast of Eriskay on its way from Liverpool to Jamaica and New Orleans. The crew survived, but when the locals learnt of the cargo of malt whisky they used the Eriskay ponies in a series of night time 'raids' to carry the cases away!
Height: 12 - 13.2 hh
Colour: Usually Grey. Occasionally bay or black.
Conformation: The head is large and the forehead wide. Eyes are set well apart. Neck is set high and shoulders are well muscled. The chest is deep and the back strong. The dock is set low but the tail carried and the mane and tail are both thick. Legs are strong but fine.
Temperament: Good temperament. Versatile and friendly.
Used for children as all rounders and for driving.
Eriskay Pony Society Website: http://www.eriskaypony.com
The Eriskay Pony (Purebred) Studbook Society Website: http://www.eriskaypony.org.uk/
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