It is 54 years since the first sale of registered pedigree Shetland Ponies was held in Baltasound and since that time the market has seen some highs and lows.

Unfortunately, with the economic climate as it is, the current market is quite depressed.  This is not a solely Shetland phenomenon however.  Low prices and a lack of buyers have plagued sales across the country with one in Chelford, Cheshire, recently being cancelled due to lack of entries.

The 2012 sale took place at the Shetland Marts on Friday 5th October with 82 ponies entered.  This was a considerably lower number than in previous years but it is hoped that breeders are now going for quality rather than quantity when producing foals.

The Pony Breeders of Shetland Association (PBSA) have been working closely with the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) to identify was of developing and safeguarding the sale for future generations.  The format of proceedings was altered slightly this year with the show - which is usually on the evening prior to the sale being held - on the morning of the sale immediately before it started.  Both vendors and spectators commented on the positive nature of the move and thanks to the nice weather the change was successful.  The show classes saw reasonable entries which were ably judged by Shetland Pony Stud Book Society judge Jimmy Wilson from Dollar, Clackmannanshire.

Best Colt Foal and Champion Foal - Foula Quality Best Filly Foal and Reserve Champion Foal - Gue Niamh The principal show awards were as follows:

  • Best Filly Foal entered in the Sale – Gue Niamh from Carole Laignel, Dunrossness.
  • Best Colt Foal entered in the Sale  – Foula Quality from Mr J Gear, Foula.
  • Overall Best Foal entered in the Sale  - Foula Quality
  • Best foal from Unst – Gardie Foxtrot from Mr W Spence, Haroldswick.
  • Best Bay foal from Unst - Gardie Foxtrot
  • Best foal from outwith Unst - Foula Quality
  • Best filly foal from all the affiliated Shetland Shows - Gue Niamh
  • Best Colt foal from all the affiliated Shetland Shows - Foula Quality

The sale of ponies followed on from the presentation of show trophies with bidding getting off to a slow start and no tremendous prices being achieved.  Top price of the day was 300gns for the champion foal, Foula Quality bought by Miss D Peterson, Nesting.  Although trade was slow there was still interest from buyers out with Shetland with some new faces arriving off the boat. A more well know face, Mr Thomas, who had travelled from Wales, thought that the sale was an improvement on last year and urged Shetlanders to keep it going.

The future of the Shetland Pony sale in Shetland is uncertain, as are many things in the current economy. However one thing that Shetland has in its favour is a community of passionate and dedicated folk.  The PBSA is committed to protecting the future of the sale for the sake of the pony and its native land and with the support of the SLMG and Aberdeen & Northern Marts we hope to develop the sale to be the premier place to sell your pedigree Shetland ponies in the UK.  However this is only possible with the help of our members and breeders.  

The possibility of developing an online sale facility and ebidding to run alongside the sale has also been looked at and will continue to be explored. Hopefully with the backing of SLMG and A&NM this is something we would hope to have in place for next year’s sale.  We need to pool skills and resources to make the sale bigger and better for 2013, especially as we are already aware of a potential bus trip of to 30 buyers coming from the North of England.  The provisional date for next year’s sale is Friday 4th October 2013.

On a final note the PBSA, SLMG and A&NM would like to offer their sincere thanks to the people who continue to support the sale and sell their ponies in Shetland.  Thanks must also go to Jimmy Wilson and his wife, Nancy, for coming to Shetland and judging at the show, also all of the people who helped and stewarded and also Sheena and Allason of A & S Security for their professional service.

If anyone has any comments regarding the sale or would like to offer help or support then please contact admin@shetlandponybreeders.com

Here’s to next year!