The Shetland pony has been around for thousands of years largely untouched by man, right through until the middle 1800s. On that point, they were just left to their own devices, the strongest survived, and because of that we’ve got a breed that is very intelligent, very hardy, very adaptable. I love the breed itself, and I love how the Shetland Ponies from Shetland are so true to their breed. They are living in the environment that they are meant to live in. That aside, I love how versatile the breed is. I mean, you see Shetland Ponies doing everything from performance show champions right down to geriatric Flexi taking Freya out for her first ride. Living in Shetland and having access to Shetland Ponies is probably something at that age that you take for granted. I was very, very fortunate that I got a Shetland Pony when I was 10 years old called Robins Brae Firva. And me and him just had the most amazing bond, its kind of like a once in a lifetime bond, you get people that might have a few horses but there’s always that special one. When I moved to Shetland, I was 10, and one of my conditions was if I moved to Shetland, I needed a Shetland Pony. Freya really really enjoys the time that she spends with Flexi. Watching them learning together is really really rewarding. Having had her as my first pony to then have her as my children’s first pony is something kind of special. In the 1960’s, then my Grandfather and my Mother really started up the stud that we know now as Robins Brae. My Mum loves the ponies, and we’ve bought in to her enthusiasm, so that was a bit of a privilege, being able to work with the ponies. One of the ponies sold the other day took Reserve Champion at The Highland Show, which we were delighted about. Growing up in the Shetland Islands, we always had ponies around us, obviously. But in general the Islands have Shetland Ponies dotted all over the place, and I think when tourists come to Shetland, it’s one of the things they want to see. We’ve been breeding Shetland Ponies now at the Merkisayre Stud for 26 years, and we thought we would set up The Shetland Pony Experience as a place where visiting tourists can come and learn all about the ponies. It’s a very unique experience, they actually get a bit of a relationship with the pony while they’re here, and I think that’s very special for them. I think ponies do something to your soul, and this experience just lives with them and stays with them for many, many years to come.