On A Teeny, Remote Island In Scotland, Over 1,500 Little Ponies Run Free

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

The Shetland Isles are a collection of rugged, rocky specks of land northeast of Scotland. These remote islands are cold and, to some, unforgiving, but they have a wild, ancient beauty all their own.

Part of the U.K., the islands are known for their fishing economy and as a destination for those who like their vacations way off the beaten track.

And one island called Foula is known for something really special — not to mention adorable.

While all of the islands are inhabited by Shetland ponies, Foula is the place where they outnumber humans 50 to 1.

Shetland ponies are little, stocky ponies who are descendants of ponies brought in by people from Scotland and Scandinavia thousands of years ago.

The rugged terrain has made them quite hardy, and their thick, fluffy fur keeps them warm from the bracing ocean winds.

They’ve been used to pull carts and plow fields, and today, some are even used as guide ponies, just like seeing-eye dogs! Sometimes they even sport locally made sweaters, and look extra adorable doing so.

On Foula, the human population is only 30, but there are some 1,500 ponies on this island alone!

Check out Foula’s cutest inhabitants below, and you might find yourself wishing for a slightly different sort of island vacation.

[H/T: BoredPanda]

Foula, one of the more remote of the already remote Shetland Isles in the U.K., is home to rugged natural beauty and wonder.

It’s known for dramatic natural features like these: the Da Noup peak on the right, and the Gaada sea stack on the left.

The Shetland Isles as a whole are full of history, too, going back about 4,000 years.

All over the many islands, you can find Iron Age structures built some 2,100 years ago, like the round tower on Mousa, as well as traditional cottages and buildings.

But that’s not all the islands have, especially if we’re talking about Foula.

Foula is full of Shetland ponies!

These hardy little ponies call the islands home, and are perfectly suited for the terrain. They’re also super cute and friendly.

The ponies and humans have been living together for centuries, and Shetland ponies have done everything from pull carts to help lead blind people around, just like the way a seeing-eye dog would.

And while there may only be 30 people on Foula, making it the most sparsely populated place in the Shetland Isles, the pony population is robust.

It’s estimated that on Foula alone, there are some 1,500 ponies. That’s a 50:1 pony-to-human ratio.

And while they have the majority, they’re fine with having some human-style fun now and again, like the time they gamely sported traditional Shetland sweaters.

And did we mention how cute they are?

At their largest, Shetland ponies only grow to be about 42 inches tall, or less than four feet. At their smallest, they’re barely over two feet!

However, they’re considered highly intelligent, and perfectly adapt to the unique climate of the Shetland Isles.

Foula isn’t an easy place to get to, but if you’re willing to brave the travel, you can explore this wide-open island and maybe make some new friends. Learn more about Foula and the Shetland Isles on their website, as well as on Facebook.

And be sure to SHARE this magical place with all your pony-loving friends!