The Gotland pony or Russ is the oldest of the Scandinavian breeds. Originally from Gotland Island, Sweden they are now also bred on the mainland.
The Gotland pony has a primitive appearance but they are good doers, versatile and strong. They have long lives, are energetic and intelligent and are fast ponies and naturally good jumpers.
Evidence has been found to show that horses have been on Gotland for over 4000 years. Discoveries in an Iron Age Village suggest that horses were increasingly domesticated during that time.
In the early 19th century, the ponies lived wild in the forests but were also used on farms. When their wild land was fenced off, many of the ponies were exported to England, Belgium and Germany where they were used for pulling carts or in the mines. They proved so popular that the numbers in Sweden fell from 11,500 in circa 1880 to 30 active broodmares in 1930.
The breed has now been re-established thanks to planned breeding programmes. New blood was introduced to avoid inbreeding and a herd still run semi-wild on the moors and in the forests of Lojsta. They can now also be found in Denmark, Finland and the US.
Height: 12 hh - 12.2 hh
Colour: Any solid colour.
Conformation: Small head with a short, narrow neck. The back is long and the quarters sloping. The tail is set low.
Temperament: Intelligent, lively and gentle.
Used for light agricultural work, general riding and trotting racing, jumping.
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