Shetland Ponies Race for Ribbons and Charity

by Kristin Berkery

Shetland ponies

A 2008 qualifying race for the Shetland Pony Grand National. Photo by Peter Facey

What could be more adorable than Shetland ponies running full speed over jumps with kid jockeys astride wearing real racing silks? It’s no publicity stunt — it’s an annual fund raising tradition held at the Olympia, London International Horse Show every December.

The jockeys are children aged 9 to 13 who’ve competed for at least one year in eventing disciplines and must run qualifying races to earn one of ten spots in the pint-sized steeplechase race. All mounts must be registered with the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society.


What is tölting?

by Kristin Berkery

Iceland and its horses seem like a world apart from what we’re used to in the U.S., but surprisingly, Iceland is only about a six-hour flight from New York City — much less than the time it takes to fly from New York to London.

Icelandics are a tough breed that have survived inhospitable weather and famines for over 1,000 years. Photo by Sela Yair

What makes Iceland different? Most of the country’s native population is descended from Scandinavian settlers in the 9th century AD who had to survive on an isolated island with an inhospitable climate, volcanic eruptions that caused great famines, and multiple epidemics that wiped out large parts of the population.