Meet the Gotland Russ Pony

Swedish Gotlands are a rare breed in North America, numbering only about 200 individuals.  If there is one thing you should know about Gotlands, it is this:

Disposition is their hallmark!

Forget about the spooking, biting, kicking, and nervousness all too common in horse and pony breeds today.  You’ll fall in love with Gotlands because they’re lovable, smart, predictable, willing, sane, and a pleasure to train.

If you are looking for security in a mount, a cooperative companion with the intelligence and eagerness to learn whatever you can teach, you’re looking for a Gotland.

Kokovoko Breeding Farm has been breeding Gotlands for over 23 years, ever since we bought the last remaining breeding herd in North America in 1989. We bought them sight unseen: a very handsome buckskin stallion (Tarquin Tristan), a couple weanling fillies, and five very pregnant mares. They looked pretty much like a bunch of plain brown ponies of “Thelwell” origin…. Until I got to know them, when I learned that these were the kindest, most intelligent, easiest to train equines I had ever encountered. And they had spunk, too. Even my Percherons didn’t push them around (for long!). I scoured the horse books for photos and information. There was precious little to find.

My best education came while training the yearlings and new babies. They learned everything SO quickly, and hardly ever objected to anything I did. I found them to be very trusting and nearly unflappable. What it took other horses a week to “get,” these guys got in an hour, and they remembered it. I could long-line and break them to drive in a day, and add another day for an introduction to riding!

The Gotland loves to learn, and isn’t bothered by anything. They love water, will go across bridges (and even tarps!), and love the challenge offered by jumping, eventing, drivng, and contest. Or they’ll just carry the little one on a trail ride or around the yard. They’re basically bombproof.

They average 12.2 hands high and about 650 lbs, and Kokovoko is also breeding Gotland sport ponies to meet the demand for a slightly larger mount capable of carrying larger kids and adults. Gotlands generally remain healthy and sound into their thirties.

Please explore the website and feel free to call or email me to learn more. I’m always happy to talk ponies. Seems they’ve become my passion over the years.

Thanks for looking,

Leslie Bebensee




Breed Standard

Swedish Gotlands are true small horses, standing 11.3-13H, with primitive looks and natural hardiness. Conformation and way of going are of a light horse type. They are larger than a Shetland and a bit stockier than a Hackney, but lighter than a Haflinger, averaging 600-700 lbs. They're resilient, healthy and long-lived. It's not unusual for Gotlands to live, healthy and sound, into their thirties. The Gotland head has a straight or dished profile, with a broad forehead, shapely muzzle, large nostrils, HUGE wide-set eyes, and a deep, round jaw. The breast and chest are deep, providing room for excellent wind capacity. The shoulder is long and sloping, perfectly angled for jumping. The back is well-muscled and strong, with an angled croup. Forearms and gaskins are muscular, and tendons and joints are all clean and strong. The cannon bone is fine but very dense. Pasterns are sloping and flexible, and the hooves round and so exceptionally tough that shoes are optional. Mane and tail are full, adn fetlock feather light. They are wooly bears in winter, but shed sleek in summer. Movement is smooth and elastic at all gaits. The trot is their strength. It is very smooth, and they can keep it up for days. In Sweden, they are used as kids' harness racing ponies!