Gabby a yellow dun Highland Mare.
Equine Rare Breeds
All horses and ponies are descended from the wild horse, these ancient breeds include the endangered Przewalski's horse and the now extinct Tarpan. Equine species are believed to have been domesticated by nomadic tribes for transport before being used in the agricultural environment. The horse superseded the Ox as a source of pulling power in agriculture, perhaps because they were easier to handle and again could be used for transport and other pulling jobs. The function of the pulling or driving horse has largely become redundant due to machines. This has meant that many traditional breeds of horse, particularly heavy set horses are now endangered especially as other breeds have become a popular choice for riding and sports.
The Highland Pony evolved from the sixteenth century and is descended from other breeds, mainly Norfolk Roadster and Arab, the breed has adapted to the variable and often severe climatic conditions of Scotland. It has been used as a military pony, for general farm work, forestry, driving, riding, deer stalking and other sporting and showing activities. The typical Highland pony, stands up to 14.2 hands, colours can vary from shades of dun and grey to brown, black and occasionally bay and liver chestnut with silver mane and tail. Many ponies have a dark coloured dorsal stripe and some show zebra markings on legs and shoulder. They also have a long tail, thick main and thick feathering on the lower leg. The strength and even temperament of Highland Ponies make them good work and riding ponies. They are still used in areas inaccessible to machines, such as in logging or to carry deer carcases from the mountainside. Highland Ponies can live on extensive rough grazing and are therefore suited to conservation grazing, even in severe climates. There are between 500 to 900 breeding females currently in the UK and they are on the vulnerable watchlist of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.