Advice Please.... just purchased two shetlands!

NicNac2018

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Nov 6, 2018
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#1
Hi all
I have been a rider since my teenage years on and off. I’m now knocking on the door of 40 with two children 5yrs and 4yrs. I have owned my own horses before, very demanding TB Aarab Mare for a good few years in my late 20s but then my career took off and so since that time I have been without a 4 legged companion (aside from a pug!). I’m lucky enough to have left London and moved to rural suffolk. So, I really want my children to have less iPad/digital time and more outside time (with a purpose) so I have purchased two beautiful little shetlands one is19yrs and one is 8yrs. They currently live outside all year on just grass and live on a busy stud farm. So they’ll be leaving the heard together and coming to a quiet secure and secluded location here with no other horses in their immediate sight. Although I will be taking charge of their day to day care, I obviously want to include the children (not straight away). Anyway, what I want some advice about is settling them in... I was planning to stable them for a couple of hours when they’re delivered in the morning together and then pop them into their paddock in a sectioned off area (the grass is rich and plentiful) for a couple of hours before bringing them in overnight and then repeating for another day or two before finally leaving them out all night.... does this sound ok.? Shetlands are totally new unknown territory to me, so any advice is gratefully received. They won’t be being ridden, they’ll just be very well loved pets without any real jobs or demands upon them, they will be very well fussed over... but I dont have much of a plan here guys..
 

mystiquemalaika

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Jan 7, 2013
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#2
Hiya.

I have a shetland gelding. Love the breed and hate that they can have a bad name. Consistency and fair handling and remembering they are still horses, albeit small, goes along way. My guy is a sweetheart who has a couple of his own quirks but on the whole he is the most level headed wee guy I've ever owned. He does enjoy doing things,long reining is his favourite but he also enjoys his general groundwork but is equally happy with just general day to day stuff and a fuss :)
One thing to be careful with is weight. They are often very good doers and can become prone to laminitis. My fellow has had a case of it once with me and it was completely my fault. His routine is stables during the day for a few hours with soaked hay or low sugar haylage then either out on a bare paddock with soaked hay or haylage or strip grazed on poor grass or he wears a muzzle. Some are fine on whatever but I'd be mindful of putting them out onto very rich grazing without some sort of management of just how much they are getting access to.

By the way we love pics :)
 
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NicNac2018

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Nov 6, 2018
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#3
Thank you! Yes I’m concerned about the feeding.... the stud farm tell me they’re out on grass all year round and they don’t use additional haylage or anything. So perhaps I’ll mow the paddock (had visiting sheep on it over the summer)so that the grass is very limited and just give them 1/3 of an acre. Perhaps bringing them in for a few hours in the day or overnight is better....?
I’m a little nervous of them both ganging up on me but I’m excited to explore their personalities and see what they like and what they don’t in terms of lead rein walking, lunging, schooling etc... we are very easygoing, so as long as everyone keeps breathing we can make it all work xx
 

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mystiquemalaika

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Jan 7, 2013
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#4
Oh they are gorgeous! Your little coloured is very similar to my guy. What are their names?

Yes cutting some down and then strip grazing as you go would be a good way to do it. Sheep helping graze will have helped too. As for over night vs during the day. I personally go for out over night as they are out longer which I think is better but nothing wrong with them living out all the time if that's what you would like just manage the grazing as need be. My 2 do enjoy some time in during the day, they both sleep, get a break from flies in summer and mud in winter and for Torin my shetland a break from his muzzle when he is wearing it and its just a routine that works well for us. I use the stable time as grooming, bonding etc as well. Even if it's just 3-4 hours a day it's a nice routine for us and if heavens forbid they ever have to stay in for any lenght of time they are used to the stables xx
 
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NicNac2018

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Nov 6, 2018
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#5
Good point! I think I will adopt your routine.... it’s manageable for me as I’m home anyhow, so there’s no major pressures on my time other than the school run and it’s really important to me that I get this right, early on.
Do you think I should start that right away. I’m not sure how to deal with the first few days. They’re delivered in the morning, so I think I’ll take it gradually, keep them in for a few hours, let them out into the paddock and then bring them in overnight.... and carry that on until the weekend when I can start the routine of giving them the afternoons in. That way they will have had time to explore the yard, sights, sounds,paddock....etc.

thank you for the advice. You’ve been a ⭐️! Although I will undoubtedly come back for more advice....on a regular basis.
Their names are Pepsi and Darcy.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#6
How exciting :D I'm in Suffolk (moved up here 15 years ago from Herts) and also have a pair of little guys, 1 a registered mini Shetland, Dan, and the other, Hank, is a mini and we suspect a shetland x mini horse. They are exceptional fun to have around :D

My guys live out year round, but on a restricted grazing 'track' system with adlib hay, because my riding horse has cushings and can't handle grass. Though Dan has his own opinions on that and lets himself on the grass twice daily, and I bring him back twice daily when I visit :rolleyes::cool: Both just went straight out into a little paddock (with head collars left on just until i knew I could catch them :)) I think honestly it's best to just get them in the routine that you plan to go with straight away, having a routine can help them settle as after a couple of days they know exactly what to expect.

I wouldn't worry they will gang up on you, if you've dealt with an arab these guys will be a breeze :) they do get a bad rep, and there is the odd one who earns it for them all but on the whole they are just cute and cuddly and great as long as you give them consistent boundaries :)
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#7
Congratulations on your new ponies.

I am not sure I understand why you would keep them in overnight initially? If they are used to living out, I would put them in a small paddock and let them out straight away.
 
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Nov 6, 2018
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#8
Hi Ladies, little update.... The ponies arrived wednesday morning and i put them into a stable for an hour just for them to calm down from the journey, have a little to eat, and get used to the sounds, sights etc... it was however obvious that they just wanted to be outside, so i let them out into a small sectioned off area of their paddock for the rest of the day and they immediately started to roll and explore...so that was all good. However, i did make the mistake of bringing them in for their first night and whilst they seemed pretty happy to go in that evening, the following morning it was obvious that they were not used to being in at all, and there was just mess and bedding EVERYWHERE and they were really desperate to get outside. So I have kept them out since, but each day I've brought them in for their grooming, their little meal and a couple of hours off the grass (whilst i poo pick, and re-section the paddock to give them more of it and to give them the comfort of a bit of dry shelter!). They seem happy with that and so i think ill carry it on that way. I definitely get the impression they just want to be out and so that's what i'll do. However, there's not much shelter in the paddock despite mature hedgerows and trees. Does anyone rug their shetlands, and if so when?
The two of them also really HATE to be separated, even if they can see each other and they're only separated by a gate!! So I'm going to have to work on that a bit. Otherwise, ive been really impressed. They have really good manners, they come to call, they stand patiently whilst i put their headcollars on, they don't pull at their lead ropes etc... not too patient however when it comes to grooming but i can work on that as they're obviously not used to having so much human attention !!!
 

Frances144

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#9
Out is where a Shetland is happiest. I rescue them and live in Shetland! I also have the two older Shetland mares. Grass is all they need and maybe a salt lick. Nothing else.

Shetlands like people. I too hate it that they have such a bad name. Mine are fine and understand about limits, behaviour and what is required. They do not forget.
Enjoy. xx
 

Jessey

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#11
Before I got my 2nd this spring the beast from the east was imminent and Hank had to be separated from Jess as she'd kicked him, he had zero shelter in his bit of the field. So the day before the beast was due I slogged my guts out to pop up a simple shelter for him
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And where did he sleep...... In the snow of course :D
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They're tough as old boots and love nothing better than to be out enjoying all weather's :)
 
Nov 6, 2018
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#12
Before I got my 2nd this spring the beast from the east was imminent and Hank had to be separated from Jess as she'd kicked him, he had zero shelter in his bit of the field. So the day before the beast was due I slogged my guts out to pop up a simple shelter for him
View attachment 95722
View attachment 95724
And where did he sleep...... In the snow of course :D
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They're tough as old boots and love nothing better than to be out enjoying all weather's :)

Oh my goodness Jessey I am ridiculously impressed by your last minute shelter building skills! That’s insanely impressive for a “day before” project! My hat is off to you! And thank you once again for the reassurance! I dont know what’s happening to me but I feel really unsure of myself at the moment which is so alien to me! I am (was-life before children) a Lawyer, in Crime , so I am very decisive and confident in all ways by nature but at the moment I feel like a cretinous idiot, second guessing everything. So apologies for that!

I will say however, I am LOVING this little double act! They’re so sweet natured, chilled and well mannered! It’s hard to see why the Shetland gets such a bad review!! My husband keeps teasing me saying the sedatives the previous owner probably administered haven’t worn off yet....
 
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Nov 6, 2018
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#13
Out is where a Shetland is happiest. I rescue them and live in Shetland! I also have the two older Shetland mares. Grass is all they need and maybe a salt lick. Nothing else.

Shetlands like people. I too hate it that they have such a bad name. Mine are fine and understand about limits, behaviour and what is required. They do not forget.
Enjoy. xx
Thank you Frances, the breed is new to me and I’ve jumped straight in and bought two! I absolutely love the pair of them, they’re so sweet and well mannered and I really can’t see why the Shetland gets such a bad review..... these two have their quirks and they definitely not like to be separated at all but I think we will all have fun together!
 
Nov 6, 2018
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#14
How exciting :D I'm in Suffolk (moved up here 15 years ago from Herts) and also have a pair of little guys, 1 a registered mini Shetland, Dan, and the other, Hank, is a mini and we suspect a shetland x mini horse. They are exceptional fun to have around :D

My guys live out year round, but on a restricted grazing 'track' system with adlib hay, because my riding horse has cushings and can't handle grass. Though Dan has his own opinions on that and lets himself on the grass twice daily, and I bring him back twice daily when I visit :rolleyes::cool: Both just went straight out into a little paddock (with head collars left on just until i knew I could catch them :)) I think honestly it's best to just get them in the routine that you plan to go with straight away, having a routine can help them settle as after a couple of days they know exactly what to expect.

I wouldn't worry they will gang up on you, if you've dealt with an arab these guys will be a breeze :) they do get a bad rep, and there is the odd one who earns it for them all but on the whole they are just cute and cuddly and great as long as you give them consistent boundaries :)
Jessey, where abouts in Suffolk are you? I’m near Bildeston!
 
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