SINCE he charmed the world with his four-legged moves, the moonwalking Shetland pony has not been short of admirers.
Now it appears he has caught the eye of a pretty young filly – and ended up in a pony paternity battle.
The pint-sized pony, who become an TV sensation after he appeared on a commercial for a broadband provider, is at the centre of a DNA probe.
The stallion called Socks, is now having to prove that he really is “the daddy” after a neighbouring pony gave birth to a black colt called Scamp, who was born last month on Shetland.
Despite being put in a field with three potential mates, Socks gave them the cold shoulder and swam across a loch to reach a mare called Kimberley instead.
Hair samples from Scamp, Socks, and Kimberley have now been sent for genetic testing at a laboratory on the mainland to establish if the celebrity pony really is the father.
If conclusive, Scamp will be the first foal that Socks has fathered since his worldwide fame. The stallion has been viewed more than 5.3 million times on You Tube “moonwalking” to the 1980s track Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac.
The 60-second commercial for broadband provider Three sees the dancing horse impress other ponies and almost tumble off a cliff, before hiding his moves from a local farmer.
His owner, Mari Williamson, 42, who runs the Benston stud farm on Shetland, explained: “He most definitely has a real eye for the ladies. He doesn’t need any encouragement. But there is a bit of paternity battle involving him at the moment.
“I put him with three ladies in a field with a loch. But he is a very good swimmer and unfortunately he took a shine to another one of my mares – who I had put in a group with my other stallion Nuggett,” she said.
“He just fancied her more and thought the grass is always greener on the other side. Socks swam across – and with his three ladies in tow – and now we don’t know for sure who is Scamp’s real father.
“It is costing an arm and a leg for the DNA tests, but it is important to keep the line correct.”
If Scamp is Socks’ son, he will command an extra premium and will be sold.
“Scamp is a real character – cheeky and very friendly,” said Ms Williamson.
“He is a very good colt. I’m chuffed to bits with him.
“I’ve had goodwill messages from all over the world for him from Denmark to the US.”
Socks now has his own Facebook page with almost 1,000 friends.
Ms Williamson said: “He has taken it all in his stride and got his four hooves firmly on the ground. He loves carrots and apples so he’s had a few of those as a reward.”
His owner bought Socks from a village near Dalkeith and she owns one other stallion – Nuggett – and eight mares.
Socks, who is five years old, was given the VIP treatment during the TV shoot by having his own hairdresser, who attached 40 clips to his mane for each day of filming.