Within the Stud the emphasis is very much on quality. We favour ponies that are well-proportioned . . . we believe they should look like true scaled-down versions of the best standard Shetlands. The average height of our stock is approximately 31-33 inches (79-84 cm).
In our experience, ALL Shetlands naturally have kind, gentle temperaments, but their individual personalities, manners and behaviour are, in general, shaped by their handling and treatment by humans.
Over the decades our careful stock selection has produced a consistency of type for which the Tawna ponies have become well known - active, free moving, and full of presence; a ‘place to put a saddle’; adequate but not coarse bone; plenty of hair; and beautiful intelligent heads, well-set on shapely necks. We particularly aim for animals which are well balanced - fore and aft, and prefer a bit of length in the body of mares - to allow room for them to carry a foal adequately.
In recent years, a number of quality Tawna-bred geldings have been making their mark in the in-hand showing world - against good breeding stock - which is helping to raise the profile of miniature Shetland geldings.
At Tawna a variety of colours are kept with broken colours - skewbalds rather than piebalds - being a favourite, but with so many colours in their forebears our mares never cease to surprise us at foaling time! However, excellent conformation and type are considered to be far more important than colour - a good horse is never a ‘bad’ colour.
Ponies from the Tawna Stud have been sold all over the UK, including the Shetland Islands, and have been exported to studs in many mainland European countries, Ireland, Scandinavia, and the USA. Some of our ponies are far better travelled than we are!
Drawing (detail) of Tawna Rubus by Gemma Hannaford.