Rare Breed: The Fight to Save Eriskay Ponies
For all the wildlife found on the Hebrides islands, there’s perhaps no more perfect symbol of the island chain’s isolation and its struggle for the future than the Eriskay ponies.
Eriskay, where the ponies are believed to have originated hundreds of years ago, is a tiny island in the Outer Hebrides—a remote island chain we visited north of the Scottish mainland. Limited habitat and inbreeding had dangerously imperiled the Eriskay ponies, known for their fine gray coat and diminutive stature. In the 1970s, only 20 ponies remained.
That’s when a group of community members saw the urgency to save the rare horse from disappearing forever. Shetland ponies and other breeds were brought to Eriskay to breed with the remaining mares.