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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/555

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SHETLAND PONIES.

least receive, little attention. Numbers of them live out of doors all the year round, except in the severest weather. The time-honored fiction that they are habitually left out in the snow, and preserve themselves from being drifted over by walking constantly in a circle, contradicts itself. As a matter of fact, snow often lies for seven or eight weeks in Shetland, covering the ground to a great depth. Under these circumstances the animals, if exposed, would certainly succumb, and they are far too valuable to their owners for this to be permitted. But they certainly do rough it out of doors in very inclement weather, seeking the doubtful shelter of dikes and out-houses; while in hard seasons the stud of the breeder is carefully housed in sheds made for the purpose. Unquestionably these ponies can stand a great amount of exposure, being fitted for this by a double or treble thickness of coat. But it is very much to be questioned—the popular belief to the PSM V38 D555 A shetland pony.jpgA Shetland Pony. contrary notwithstanding—if any of them are the better for being subjected to an extreme test of this kind. Ponies sent south at an early age rarely, if ever, pass through such an ordeal, and it is not found, we believe, that their natural hardiness deserts them, or even diminishes, when they receive fair treatment and proper shelter during inclement seasons. If stabled, however, as in many cases they must necessarily be, by the southern buyer, they should have abundance of fresh air; a simple shed, by way of cover, is almost all that is necessary for them. And it is imperative that at all times they should have ready access to drinking-water. No animal can exist so short a time without it unharmed. It is self-evident that, if a pony be entirely dependent on outdoor feed, his condition must necessarily vary with the season. Apoplectically full in summer, he must be sorely reduced in winter. This must, sooner or later, injure the health and stamina of the animal.

The writer, who has had considerable experience in the keeping of Shetland ponies, has carefully experimented as to the best hygienic arrangements for their indoor accommodation. He finds that a rough stone building, loosely cemented, so as to allow a free current of air to pass through the walls, with ordinary stable fittings on a small scale, and covered with a galvanized iron roof, forms their best shelter. During the day, in almost all