Shetlanders (a.k.a. 'those northern buckheads', 'shaggies' etc.) are those ponies who reside in the Shetland region far to the north of Canterlot and Ponyville. They also feature prominently in Shetlander, an in-progress fanfiction.
Shetlanders are noticeably shaggier than regular ponies, with distinct whiskers, moustaches, beards, muttonchops and unshorn fetlocks. Manes and tails also tend to the 'windswept and interesting' look, but some of the landed and many of the mares braid theirs. Dreadlocks may also be seen.
Hide colours are usually muted or pastel shades of brown, roan, black . Eyes are usually brown, grey or blue.
Cutie marks are often partially obscured beneath hair. The Shetlander response has been the sporran (see Clothing).
The Shetlands resemble a cross between Ireland and Scotland, consisting of often rolling hills interrupted by steep mountains and deep lochs. Also adorning the landscape are many standing stones.
Location of the Shetlands is roughly three days hoof travel from Ponyville, placing it some distance north and west of Canterlot. Since the terrain directly between the Shetland border and Canterlot prevents the easy construction of a reliable or safe road, the most common route is via Ponyville and Sweetwater.
Weather here tends to strong winds, rainy springs, and freezing winters. As such Shetlanders' buildings tend to be sturdy, no-nonsense affairs capable of shrugging off the frequent polar blasts that sweep across the country, rather like the Shetlanders themselves.
While the heavier coat of the Shetlander helps keep the notoriously chilly weather at bay, and their architecture is built to keep out the worst of the winter cold, there are still times when additional protection is needed. As a result, the Shetland fabric is renowned for its insulating properties – which, it being a wool and goat hair blend, is understandable.
Shetlanders typically wear a sporran-type bag around their necks, which is decorated with an emblem depicting the wearer's cutie mark. The sporran also acts as a purse and is one of the most treasured possessions a Shetlander owns. The song That ye Donald? Where's ye Sporran? (sung to the tune “Donald Where's your Trousers”) is a particularly well known ode to this item's cultural importance. (From a technical viewpoint the sporran also provides a source of secondary motion.)
Invariably a Shetlander will also sport some item of clan tartan. While a sporran always has a piece of tartan visible, Shetlanders usually wear something more visible, such as a hat, kilt, scarf or 'wee blankie', usually worn slung around one shoulder.
In inclement weathers, Shetlanders will pull on a hooded cloak if they absolutely have to go out, but in general they prefer 'tae pull the auld stone croft about me flanks'.
Hats are also favoured by Shetlanders, typically tam-o'-shanters, flat caps, or for pegasi a sort of hood secured about the neck.
Shetlanders are a proud, bolshie, and tough lot. Their favourite pastimes involve storytelling, singing, 'a wee dram' (which can range from a judicious shot of whiskey to 'a good start is half the bottle'), demonstrations of physical prowess (which can be anywhere from hoofraces to 'tests of strength' to single combat or even outright riots), and dancing (which can also segue into single combat etc.)
Shetlanders are legendary bards, although their tales and songs tend to veer into equally legendary bragging and outright vulgarity. Poor Daft Ned and its female counterpart Poor Blind Nell are notorious examples, where the simple-minded protagonists start out as comic bunglers and by the thirtieth verse are sunk in depravity by an assortment of lechers. Subsequent verses tend to get the names of other singers slipped in and the donnybrook comes soon after.
Shetland culture also depends a great deal on the 'old religion' of the worship of Equus and Epona, especially that offshoot implying the princesses are directly descended from those two mythic figures.
Unlike the relatively pacifist central ponies, due to the constant threat of the Muc, Shetlanders have a martial culture. Colts and fillies are expected to learn how to defend themselves with teeth and hooves (especially in terms of outrunning 'those snouty bastards') and smiths forge not only tools, but weapons. In order to ensure ponies stay in top condition, and also to diffuse excess aggression, the Shetlanders take part in regular sporting and athletic contests to encourage physical fitness, clan pride and demonstrate prowess.
This race of primitive pigs does not appear to be actually native to the Shetlands, but nevertheless have rebuffed all attempts to coexist. As such the Shetlands are in a state of constant war against them, especially since they seem to be primarily interested in Them Under Stones.
Them Under Stones
[Information removed by royal order for your safety]
The social structure is broken down as follows:
Laird – the supreme ruler of the Shetlands. Generally appointed by the Council of Thanes upon the death of the incumbent, and has power of veto over same.
Thane – leader of a clan. A Clan is a collection of Septs within a rough geographical region of the Shetlands. Currently there are seven clans.
Sept – Usually on the level of a village or town, but as Shetlanders move about they can become dispersed. Despite that sept members remain fiercely loyal to each other, in the main.
Individual families are the bedrock of Shetland society and nothing is more shocking to them than a family falling apart. As a result, Shetlanders are often terrible gossips!
Primary industries in the Shetlands are farming, weaving and distilling. If whiskey isn't your cup of tea, ask the barpony for a 'wee dose o' the ale'. Brewers are notorious for their ales, bocks, stouts and wheat beer.
Shetland wool cloth, as stated, is considered the finest for warmth anywhere in Equestria, and many of the weavers and dyers are not only relatively wealthy, but highly respected.
While Shetland pegasi can manipulate the weather in the same way their central Equestrian counterparts do, the rough terrain and turbulent air currents often cause unexpected results. As a result, Shetlanders are content to merely predict and endure whatever their land throws at them, and will only manipulate clouds in cases of emergency or war.
While the Shetlanders celebrate Hearth's Warming and Winter Wrap-Up like the rest of Equestria, the best known event in the Shetland calendar is the Fling, a celebration of Shetland culture that starts, as one pony puts it, 'wi' the raisin' o' the halls an' ends wi' the razin' of 'em!' Tourists attending the Fling are advised to arrive at the grounds about sunrise and leave roughly an hour after the evening feasts – this is the optimum time to enjoy the singing, dancing, demonstrations of strength, food and tskotchkes while avoiding the inevitable fights without giving offence.
There are other Shetland celebrations which are unique to them, although scholars have observed correlation with aspects of the old Equus and Epona cult.
Shetlanders speak in a heavily accented brogue that staggers from Ireland to Scotland by way of northern England.