Fanciers of Shetlands began importing these hardy little ponies from the Shetland Isles and Europe in the late 1800s. Immediately, the earliest enthusiasts embarked on a road to improve the quality of stock by selectively breeding for improvement and, thereby, established a truly American pony. Today’s American Shetland and all its divisions are tributes to the goals of those early pony enthusiasts who sought to create beautiful, elegant and brilliantly animated ponies.
The American Shetland Pony Club was established in 1888 to govern the burgeoning interest in Shetlands in the U.S. Founders wanted to establish the purity of the stock and to maintain a reliable record of pedigrees and transfers for the American Shetland Pony.
Today, the ASPC, Inc., is the oldest small equine registry in existence and one of the oldest equine governing bodies in the United States. In addition to fostering and building the American Shetland over the last 120-plus years, the ASPC, Inc., has established other breeds and divisions under its auspices. It began the Harness Show Pony before the mid-1900s. It allowed for work with the short-lived Americana registry. The organization promoted and supported pony racing in the 1960s and 1970s. ASPC, Inc., established the first American Miniature Horse Registry in 1971. In the 1980s, recognizing member’s fondness for the Shetlands of the 1950s, the ASPC established a Shetland division for that interest and shortly after the millennium, added an additional option for even more historically traditional Shetlands.
In addition to the Shetland divisions and the Miniature Horse registry, today ASPC, Inc., also operates two additional registry divisions that both include options for cross-breeding either Shetlands or Miniatures. The first of those, the American Show Pony Registry offers a thrilling, high-stepping show pony while the National Sport Performance Pony Registry is a perfect place for pony-crosses that excel in sporting pursuits.