How Much Weight can a Shetland Pony Carry?

Do you remember shetland pony giving you playful rides? If you do, I bet the idea of recalling your childhood memory brought you here. But would it still be able to give you a ride? How much weight can it carry? Rest assured, you are going to get all your questions answered.

Shetland pony, a Scottish breed, originates from the Shetland Isles, North Scotland. Shetland ponies have been with us since the Bronze Age, pulling carts, carrying things, and plowing lands. Working under intense conditions, living in a harsh climate with no stomach full of food, has developed them as strong hard creatures.

Short muscular neck, deep girth, broad back, wide eyes, compact body, strong legs are more than enough for its size. 

Now, let’s discuss how much weight a pony can carry to know if it can still give you a ride or not?

How much weight can a Shetland pony carry?

Approximately 130 pounds (59kg). Or more simply, it can carry ten to twenty percent of its body weight. The shetland pony is widely accepted as the strongest pony breed because of it’s remarkable ability to carry weight. 

How much weight a pony can carry if it is weighing 900 pounds?

To carry 10 to 20 percent of their body weight a pony should at least weigh 800 pounds. But if a pony is weighing above 800 pounds the excess weight should be deducted from the weight you are about to burden your pony with as it is already carrying a lot of weight.

How much weight can a Shetland pony pull?

A Shetland pony can pull a light vehicle and two adults at the same time. However, a pair of ponies can pull 4 adults riding a heavy vehicle without any difficulty.

Shetland pony is the strongest pony among ponies and horses breeds

Workhorses are considered the strongest horses among all breeds of horses except thoroughbred horses and they can carry half of their body weight but Shetland pony, being the strongest ever known pony, has even put the workhorse behind in this race by carrying twice of its body weight. For this very reason, they got awarded with “the strongest pony “title.

shetland pony weight

Factors determine the Shetland pony’s ability to carry weight

Like all mammals on planet Earth Shetland pony also need to be in sound health to carry the expected weight.  The factors that determine it’s ability to carry weight, are:


Physically fit ponies that have been carrying weights, giving rides all their life does not mind carrying the above-mentioned weight. They would take it as a usual practice.


Animals are as sensitive to weather as humans. They do feel cold and working in full sun just makes them want to run away. If the weather is pleasant and they are not tired they would take all the weight willingly.


Size either enhances or diminishes ponies’ ability to carry weight. A mature adult can carry more weight than immature ones. 


A physically fit healthy pony is more likely to carry 10 to 20 percent weight with ease than the pony suffering from malnutrition. 


Height only matters when a rider is about to put their weight on this sturdy creature. An exceptionally well pony can carry 120 to 130 pounds as well. But handling a man weighing 120-130 pounds is impossible for it to carry.

Ponies can carry more weight than a few horse breeds

Surprisingly, draft horses that are known for their toughness have failed to ponies when it comes to carrying weight. They might be small but strong and sturdy enough to beat the horses in this race as their body structure is built to work with weights


How to determine you are putting the right weight on your Shetland pony?

There comes a time when you start questioning wouldn’t it be heavy for the poor little creature? A ponies may not speak but actions speak for themselves. You can judge whether it’s heavy for them or not by their actions.

Can a pony be trained to lift more weight than the said percentage?

Ponies can be trained to stay active or perform more work but not to lift more weight. As it is beyond their capacity. However, a weaker pony can be fed well and trained to carry the ideal weight determined for them.

Modern Shetland ponies are not that tough!

Traditional ponies were doing a lot of jobs. As the machines, and cars have taken the world over their use is limited to kids to ride only. So, they aren’t that tough to carry more than your expectations. 

Can a Shetland pony still give you a ride or not?

You got a yes if your weight is somewhere around 80 to 160 pounds and no if you are above that. Even if the shetland pony has been carrying weight all its life or is trained to lift heavyweight it would still be impossible for them to give an enjoyable ride to a mature adult weighing above 160 pounds. But only if you are not too tall for that little creature.


Shetland pony is the strongest creature among all horses and ponies breeds as it can carry twice its body weight (even better than the draft horses). Shetland pony was being used for several purposes including giving playful rides to kids but the advancement has put a full stop to giving rides only.  Modern ponies are not that tough; they can be trained to perform work but can not be made to carry more weight.

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Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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