The Rarest Breed
The purebred Eriskay Pony is Europe’s most endangered breed of pony.
The pony had survived unchanged on the island of Eriskay and it has been authoritatively noted that when bred away from its native islands the pony’s characteristics change
In order to safely retain its characteristics the fount of all breeding has therefore to be in the pony’s natural habitat in the islands of the Outer Hebrides.
The use of island bred pure stallions is considered paramount to the conservation of the pure breed. An accredited CEnE pure breeding centre was established on the mainland at Palacerigg Country Park in Cumbernauld in 2012 and used only the island bred Seorsa Gaidheal purebred Eriskay Stallion Cathal until sadly, despite its 40 year showcasing of Eriskay Ponies the Park ceased to have ponies of any kind in 2013. Cathal had died a few months earlier but the pure Eriskay Mare Breagha and her foal by Cathal have been satisfactorily rehomed.
Our island breeding and the island bred pony
After a decade’s enforced lull pure breeding in the islands is again gathering momentum and important pure male breeding lines are being conserved and developed.
The island bred pony’s value in conservation grazing and endurance riding as well as its use as a children’s pony and in its traditional role in crofting life is now gaining wider recognition and should ensure this rarest of rare pony breeds survives as part of Scotland’s heritage.
The Seorsa Gaidheal purebred ponies Cathal and Breagha settle in to their new home at Palacerigg Country Park.