Highland | Facts & Information

# Highland | Facts & Information

Highland | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Highland

The Highland pony is the native horse of the highlands of Scotland. (Scotland was once a separate kingdom from northern England, but signed a treaty with England in 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

Origin: Scotland

Height: 130-145cm

Weight: 450-550kg

Colors: different shades of light brown

Used for: riding, hiking and horse riding

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Highland, or Highland Cow, is a breed of cattle originating from Scotland, known for its distinctive appearance and adaptability to harsh environments and severe weather conditions. These animals are renowned for their shaggy coats and long horns, which give them an impressive and attractive look.

The origin of Highland cattle can be traced back thousands of years ago in Scotland. These animals have evolved in challenging conditions, in an environment characterized by poor pastures and marshy areas. Their ability to survive in such difficult environments has allowed Highland cattle to develop as a strong and resilient breed.

One remarkable characteristic of Highland cattle is their thick and dense coat. It consists of two layers: a rough and weather-resistant outer layer and a soft and insulating inner layer. This unique design of their coats enables them to adapt and survive in extreme weather conditions, protecting them from cold and humidity.

In addition, the sweeping horns of Highland cattle are another distinctive feature. These long and curved horns can reach impressive lengths and can give the animals a frightening appearance to potential predators. The horns also play an important role in thermoregulation, helping to dissipate heat in warm periods and retain heat in cold periods.

Besides their attractive appearance, Highland cattle also have a gentle and peaceful personality. These animals are known for their calm and friendly temperaments, making them popular pets in many countries. They are generally curious and sociable, and when treated with gentleness and respect, they can form strong bonds with their owners and become loyal and affectionate companions.

Highland cattle are medium to large-sized animals, with a mature weight of approximately 800-1,000 kilograms. Being robust and resilient animals, they can survive in a wide range of environments, from mountainous areas to wetlands or even isolated islands. Their adaptability also makes them popular animals for farming and grazing in inaccessible areas for other breeds of cattle.

In terms of nutrition, Highland cattle have a well-developed digestive system and can consume a variety of vegetation, including grass, stems, and even moss. They are ruminants, which means that food is ingested in the first stage and digested later in the stomach. This process allows them to extract nutrients from vegetation that is less digestible for other animals.

In conclusion, Highland, also known as Highland Cow, is a breed of cattle originating from Scotland, renowned for its distinctive appearance and adaptability to harsh environments and severe weather conditions. These animals are appreciated for their shaggy coats and long horns, as well as their gentle and friendly personality. With a weight of approximately 800-1,000 kilograms, they can survive and thrive in various environments and are popular both as pets and for farming purposes.










It is uncertain whether wild horses spread to Scotland after the retreat of the last glaciers about 10,000 years ago, or whether the first specimens were brought by prehistoric settlers. However, horses have been present in Scotland since at least the eighth century i.Hr.

Horses / ponies used in the years 550-800 d.Hr in the eastern and northern parts of Scotland, drawn by settlers in their stone caverns, they seem to have influenced the Highland pony of today.

Few relevant records exist of these ponies, but we find Highland ponies described in early travels and agricultural research in the eighth century. Then the ponies were smaller because of the harsh conditions in which they lived. Most of the pony's bloodlines today trace back to the 1830s.

Although we refer to it as a breed and until the pedigree register was established, these ponies were never created by controlled mating as was done in other commercial breeds. They are descended from ponies used to work on farms in Scotland.

Of course there were changes due to horses brought with the invading armies, some ponies mating with other breeds, which had an effect on all native horses/ponies in the United Kingdom. The Highland pony or garron, a Gaelic word, was traditionally the horse used by small farmers, horses that could do the necessary work on a farm in Scotland.

200 years ago these ponies were used as transport animals and were used to work the land. They were also used for pulling carriages and other wheeled vehicles.

For the past one hundred and seventy years these ponies have been used primarily to carry deer and other prey, using special saddles, as well as in other tasks pertaining to sport in Scotland.

Pony riding began in Scotland in 1955 using Highland ponies because of their quiet nature and ability to carry weights. Today the Highland breed is still used for traditional tasks on the hills, and in addition to all kinds of riding and driving competitions.

This pony is ideal for the whole family, able to tackle all tasks, but not specialist in all. For example, they can be excellent four-legged jumpers and will travel long distances being ridden or participating in races with a medium difficulty and length.

They really excel in their ability to carry the heaviest weight or person to a corner and harsh place. They inherit balance in going through bumpy places, which won't make the rider nervous. And he can do these things even if the conditions are harsh outside.

Highland ponies generally don't like being kept in a stable. Many of them still participate in state competitions, carry weights, and it is probably the most common pony used for travelling in Scotland today.

There have been an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Highland ponies worldwide, mainly in Scotland, but a fairly large number are also found in England and a few are also found in the British Isles. France probably has a population of 500, Germany around 300, Australia 200, and small groups are also found in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and elsewhere.

A few ponies were imported into the United States, but were not kept as a separate breed. A Highland stallion named Glenfiddich was imported to King's Farm, Texas, in 1950 to give more endurance to other horses, but his records cannot now be traced.

Highland Appearance

The Highland pony has a height of around 138-150 cm, some of them, usually castrated ones, grow a little taller due to better food and care from birth.

They are well built, with adults weighing 450-550 kg and although they are called "ponies" they look more like short-legged horses. They are the largest of the nine native breeds in Britain.

Today, almost all Highland ponies breed with primitive signs: straight line on the back, stripes on the shoulders, zebra stripes, with black legs, tail and Mane. They fade with time if the fur is gray.

They are the only native ponies in Britain to whom these signs appear so frequently, basically being something natural, without conscious selection.

This might suggest ancient origin, as Highland ponies did not have a colour-selective breeding programme and had limited "improvement" in conformation through crossbreeding, other than selection for a larger size in the past.

Unlike other native breeds, Highland ponies do not have to pass a subjective assessment of conformation or height before they are placed on the pedigree register: a Highland purebred pony is all that is needed.

One exception to this statement: White marks do not appear to be a possible evidence of crossbreeding in the past, and Highland Stallions cannot be recorded if more than one small white star is present.

There are no mating schemes to be used, for example, the use of "approved" or "selected" stallions, and therefore conserves a large mix of genes. The effect of this is that Highland ponies are quite variable in color, height and appearance. Today's ponies are the result of their genetic background and not a breed created according to a certain concept.

Highland Behaviour

The highland pony breed was frequently used as a burden horse with agricultural tasks. Today the breed is commonly used in horseback riding or trekking.

If you want a highland pony it's good to know that these horses have an excellent reputation when it comes to behavior. Highland ponies are for the most part calm and docile, show a high level of intelligence, which is why they were alleys in agricultural work.

It's an easy animal to care for, which means it's not picky about food and doesn't need too much.

This is because of the environment from which it comes, it is a trait that they learned from its origins when food was limited.

If you are looking for a versatile pet, loved not only by children, but also by adults, the Highland pony is definitely a good choice.

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