How Much Weight Can a Shetland Pony Carry?

Many people are unaware of the fact that Shetland ponies are incredibly strong. They may look small and seem rather unassuming but they’re one of the strongest horse breeds.

They are often used as children’s riding ponies, and can also be seen pulling carts at shows, fairs, and funfairs. Except… you cannot ride them as an adult.

Because they cannot carry the weight of an adult. Have you ever thought about how much weight can a Shetland pony?

Most Shetlands Pony can carry an average of around 18-20% of their own body weight. In other words, a Pony weighing 300lb can carry around 54lb without too much trouble. Anything above it could cause injuries in ponies.

Check the below-given table for better understanding.

Pony Weight (Kg's)Weight A Shetland Pony Can Carry (Kg's)
120around 24
165around 33
200around 40

Most importantly you should be concerned about maintaining your pony’s weight so they’re happy, healthier, and have no problems with their feet.

Can A Shetland Pony Pull a Cart?

Yes, a Shetland pony can pull a cart, but there are a few factors that you should consider before putting that poor thing through something it cannot pull off (pun intended).

Shetland ponies can pull a lightweight cart and if you pair two ponies, then they can pull more weight.

However, you cannot increase the weight as the pony will not be able to pull that weight and can injure itself in the process.

So, a small cart will be ideal and adorable, anything more than that can injure your pony and cost you a few visits to the vet.

How To Ensure Your Pony Is Fit to Carry Weight?

Although this conversation should be a standard, not a lot of people put in thought to think about the animals and their comfort.

Especially in theme parks and circuses – animals do get abused and it is about time that we have these important conversations.

Here is a checklist to ensure whether your pony can carry weight and be part of your new venture (a theme park maybe).

1. Health

Yes, this one is a given right? Before you decide on whether your pony can carry weight, you should get a vet appointment to run through a checkup.

The vet will run a few examinations to ensure that your Shetland pony is fit.

Well, aren’t Shetland ponies the strongest breed? Yes, they are – but there is a difference between urban and rural ponies.

So, if your pony was born and raised on a city farm then there are chances that it is not as strong.

So, it is best that you run those tests.

2. Age

Although Shetland ponies have an age expectancy of 25 years, they can only carry the weight on their back until about they are 12 years old.

So, if your Shetland pony is above 12 years of age – then they are not fit to carry the weight as they were at an early age.

3. Other Factors

Other than health and age, there are a few other things that you should check.

For example, if your Shetland pony has been in any accidents or injured any bones – then you should not make them out more weight on their body.

Because of their poor bone health, they can suffer from injuries and since they will be unable to communicate (obviously) you will not even notice it. So, it is best that you are informed beforehand.

Who Should Ride a Shetland Pony?

Here is a chart to check if you should ride a Shetland pony.

Age15 years max and 2 years minimum
weightLess than 50 kgs
height5’1” or 155 cm max

Should Adults Ride Shetland Ponies?

No, as an adult you should not ride a Shetland pony. Yes, I know you will be thinking “I am so skinny” or “I am not even that tall” – the answer is still NO!

You can damage the spine of a Shetland pony by riding it if you are an adult and cause permanent injuries. It may look fun, but it is not worth it.

Can Children Safely Ride Shetland Ponies?

It depends on their age. If a child is younger than 2 years, then they cannot safely ride a Shetland pony. However, if they are elder than 2 years and can hold their back from then they can ride.

But you should never let your children ride unsupervised.

The ponies are small, and they may look safe but a fall from their back can still cause serious injuries. Always hold them from their back or watch over them to ensure their safety.


Shetland ponies are perfect for children and small adults who wish to learn how to ride a horse.

These breeds can be used as starter horses, since they’re easy to care for, gentle in nature, and able-bodied enough even for young riders that haven’t hit their full growth yet(Under 15 years)!

And as far as how much they can carry weight concerned.

Shetland ponies can carry around 50 kilograms of weight at max and if you add more than that – it can cause injuries.

So, before you make your pony carry the weight, make sure that they are fit and age-appropriate to carry that weight on their backs.