Every Thursday, at the end of our camp week together, the cowpokes present a show to parents where they trot out their newly acquired skills. Each week, parents pull me aside to ask, "What type of pony is Dolly?" While ‘Dolly’ is her ranch name, her registered name is Kokovoko Octavia - a sport, Gotland mare.
The Swedish Gotland, or Skogruss pony, is probably the oldest of the Scandinavian breeds. Retaining much of its primitive character, the Gotland pony once lived in the semi-wild state on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, as well as in the Lojsta forest in Sweden.
In its native land, the Gotland pony is called “Russ” or forest pony. The breed has been around for centuries and is spoken of in the legends and tales of czars and Vikings, closely tied with all of Sweden’s history.
The Gotland pony is on the extinct equine list, with only about 500 remaining in the USA. Once employed as a general-purpose farm pony, the Gotland, today, is used for riding purposes. These ponies are extremely athletic and especially excel at jumping and cross country events.
While Dolly has done an excellent job carrying our cowpokes thru the summer season at a relaxed pace, it will be fun to see her in action during our lesson program, where she can move at her more active pace!