The American Shetland Pony is a far cry from the chubby, short-legged, small ponies many rode in their youth. Years of careful selective breeding and crosses with other more refined horse breeds - a process that dates back to the 1880s - created a true show pony that is leggy and elegant, has a pretty head and slender neck, and that exhibits graceful movement.
Although usually taller in statue, the present-day American Shetland Pony typically exhibits longer legs, a tighter barrel and longer neck and thereby an overall more refined and horse-like appearance than the typical American Miniature Horse, as registered in the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) or in the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) studbooks. However, many sub-38" American Shetland Ponies are double registered with ASPC and with AMHR as B-division (34"-38") American Miniature Horses. Although still rare, even triple-registered (ASPC/AMHR/AMHA) sub-34" ponies exist.
In recent years, the American Shetland Pony started displaying its superiority at miniature horse shows including those organized for sub-34" miniature horses only, such as AMHA shows. This became apparent in the last two AMHA World Shows, wherein the highest (Supreme Champion) title was won by triple registered (ASPC/AMHR/AMHA) American Shetland Ponies. Popularity of the ASPC pony in Europe is on the rise as well, with multiple European breeders now importing quality ponies from the USA and incorporating them into their breeding programs.