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Horse Breeds
First Posted Aug 8, 2009
Sep 26, 2010

Sable Island Pony

Sable Island Pony

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Country of Origin: Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada


The first horses on Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada were brought to the island during the late 1700s. Many people believe that they arrived on the island from off of the many shipwrecks. However, this romantic notion is false - they were in fact intentionally left on Sable to graze and multiply, and were most likely seized from Acadians during their expulsion from Nova Scotia at the hands of the British. Although often referred to as ponies due to their small size, they have a horse phenotype. One of the first horses on the island for which there was a record of importation was the stallion, Jolly, who was taken there in 1801. The ancestry of the horses is unknown, but they owe some debt to the Spanish horse.

Breed Characteristics

The horses that remain on Sable Island are feral, but in the past, those exported to the mainland were tamed to ride, and said to be excellent, tough and enduring, and able to travel with ease on any terrain. Present day horses are all very hardy and thrive in an inhospitable environment. The herds are not managed, nor subject to human interference and so exhibit a range of characteristics. In general, they have nice heads with a straight or convex profile and are short, stocky and muscular in frame. Their coats are mostly dark colors, but some do exhibit white markings. There are no grays.

For More Information

"Wild Ponies Off Sable Island"
Sable Island Horses
Science Sable Island Pony
The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry - breeds By Janet Vorwald Dohner

Horse Breeds