Googling images of Shetland ponies as well as images of Miniature horses results in little apparent difference between the two breeds.
Perhaps someone can tell us where one breed ends and the other starts as I believe that they are meant to be quite distinct from each other.
(Both have their respective places.)
I think you are confusing the American Shetland with the British Shetland. The British Shetland is basically a small draft horse, but they haven't been squashed down like a miniature horse therefore they do not have all the health problems miniature horses can have. British Shetland are a lot chunkier then Miniature horses and have a lot more bone as they were bred to work very hard on the crofts or in the mines with very little food. Like I said they have not been bred for their size, it was evolution as they evolved so they could survive on the Shetland isles as stated above. They Shetland is a lot more hardy then the Miniature horse and can cope with a lot more work as a pair of British Shetlands can do the same job as a Clydesdale.
Thanks for the info.
I started my riding on our Shetland gelding a few decades ago but have hardly seen one since and this thread got me curious again.
I much prefer the idea of Shetlands being distinct from Miniatures and am glad that there are some breeders sticking to the original type.