always something new to discover.
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Rum Ponies

Rum Pony c Lesley Watt

The Rum pony is an island type of the Highland Pony breed that is native to the Highlands and islands of Scotland and has been present since the last ice age. 

Harry (c) Lesley Watt

The first record of these ponies on Rum dates back to 1774 and in 1775 they were described by Dr Johnson in his “Journey to the Western Islands” as “very small but of a breed eminent for beauty”.

Distinctive features of the island type Highland Ponies were diluted and lost from the mainland due to crossing with Clydesdale's and other foreign breeds to improve stature for agricultural work. 

Rum Pony (c) Lesley Watt

Due to the isolation of the ponies on Rum during the onset of agriculture, the Rum ponies have remained in a form close to their original endemic type. 

Rum Pony herd (c) Lesley Watt

The Rum ponies have retained the qualities required for living on the island. They are extremely hardy and sure footed with exceptional temperaments. Rum holds the oldest Highland Pony stud in the world with around 20 ponies on the island with these rare ancient bloodlines. 

Rum Ponies (c) Lesley Watt

The ponies are a working herd and are used during the deer culling season to extract deer carcasses from the hill. They are also used as a grazing management tool outside of the deer culling season when they live out wild on the hill and can be found grazing at Harris.

Being an island population these ponies are of particular importance to the Highland Pony breed. Should equine disease ever affect the mainland highland pony population, the Rum ponies would act as a reservoir for mainland breeders to re build stock and would therefore play a vital role in preserving the Highland pony breed.

Photos Lesley Watt 

Further Reading

For info about books and resources, please visit our Further Reading section

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Page updated Feb 2020
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