The Gotland Horse is a pony that has Sweden as its native land. This pony is also known as Skogsruss pony or Gotland Russ. The word ‘russ’ comes from an outmoded word ‘ross’ which means a riding horse or a mount. Gotland ponies are said to descend from Tarpans that lived on the petite island of Gotland. This island is on the South-Eastern coast of Sweden right after the last ice age. The Gotland pony is the only pony breed that inhabitant Sweden. From the neighboring island of Oland, an Oland horse was closely related to the Gotland but in the early 20th century the former became extinct.
History of Gotland Horse
The Gotland is a prehistoric breed and is thought to be one of the direct descendants of the Tarpan. Certainly, it shares many characteristics with breeds such as the Konik, the Hugul, and the now-extinct Lofoten pony. It is believed to be the oldest Scandinavian breed and is relatively purebred except for some infusions of Oriental blood about a century ago. Records indicate that it has run wild on Gotland Island, in the Baltic Sea to the southeast of Sweden, since the Stone Age. There is still a herd of Gotlands in the forest at Lojsta. It is now also bred on the Swedish mainland.
The physique of Gotland Horse
The Gotland pony is a lightweight pony with a narrow build, a small, straight head, and small ears. The neck is short and well-built. The shoulders are strong and the back is rather long. Its tail is set low on sloping quarters. Legs are hard and strong, though the light of bone, and hooves are small and hard. The pony moves well at a walk and trot, gallops, and is an outstanding jumper.
Height of Gotland Horse
Usually, the Gotland pony stands from 12 hands high to 12.2 hands high.
Body Color of Gotland Horse
You can find Gotland ponies in various colors. Generally, this pony is seen in the bay or black colors. The very common colors found on the body of this pony are wild bay and Mealy (Pangare). Other common colors are buckskin, palomino, and chestnut. It is noteworthy that all colors except for dorsal pinto, grey, and dun are acceptable.
The temperament of Gotland Horse
The Gotland pony is gentle and easy to handle, even if it inclines to be obstinate.
Uses of Gotland Horse
The Gotland Pony is the most common breed of pony in its native land- Sweden. It is a round pony and thus, riding schools use this pony frequently. Modern Gotland ponies are most popular as riding ponies, over and over again for children and as ponies used for harness racing. They also do extremely well at dressage, eventing, and show jumping.
Formerly, the Gotland pony is in demand for light agricultural work. It is now popular as a children’s pony, and as a jumper, for which it is specially bred. The Gotland is considered to be a very fast learner and is easy to be trained. Nowadays, the Gotland Ponies are mostly bred in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and North America. Though the breed is quite widespread, there is still a little, semi-feral herd that is kept cosseted on Gotland Island by native inhabitants and the Gotland Agricultural Society.
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