Nipper the Shetland pony, my neighbor’s pride and joy. The Shetland is Britain’s smallest native breed of pony, hailing from the Shetland Isles in Scotland, where the breed is known to have existed for more than 2,000 years. The Shetland pony is tiny in stature; the islands’ harsh conditions allowed only the smallest, toughest animals to survive. For its size, the Shetland is the strongest of all horse breeds. As well as cultivating land and being an all-’round work pony, the breed is also famous for working in the mines of the U.K. The use of children as mine workers was banned in 1847. At about that time, "pit ponies" became popular, with the Shetland being the favorite breed, due to its small size, brave nature and extraordinary strength.