The Deli pony is native to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Closely related to the Batak Pony, both breeds developed in the Batak hills. The name of the breed most likely came from the large numbers of ponies exported from the port of Deli. The pony breed was first exported to Singapore, Malacca, and Penang, and from there spread out across Malaysia.
It is believed that the first horses in the Malay Archipelago arrived several hundred years ago, either by Hindu invaders from the west or merchants from Pegu and China. It is probable that the Shan Ponies, native to Burma and bred by its hill tribes, were imported to the highlands of Northern Sumatra where there was open country. From there, these horses were crossbred with Arabian stallions brought in by the Arab merchants sometime around 1375.
Deli ponies have an attractive head, well-shaped, high-crested necks due to a strong infusion of Arabian blood. They are small, averaging only about 11.3 hands, although some reach up to 12.2 hands. The most common color is seal brown, though skewbalds also exist.