August 07, 2008 | | Comments 0

Dales Pony

Dales Pony

Appreciating the Hardworking Dales Pony

Ponies aren’t just for carrying kids on their first riding lessons. These small animals are also intended for real hard work. Among the different pony breeds, the Dales Pony is among the hardest working traditional pack animals.

Dales Pony History

This pony breed originated in the northern dales of England. Its direct ancestors are the ponies of the Pennine which may have been bred with other European horses particularly those from Rome. Eventually though, the Dales Pony breed was influenced by many other horse breeds throughout the centuries. Among some of the breeds that have been in contact with the Dales breed are the Fell, Wilson, Norfolk Trotter and Clydesdale breeds. These breeds were most likely introduced in the hopes of improving some traits of the Dales Pony.

In the beginning, the Dales Pony was primarily intended as a beast of burden. They were used to carry lead in the mining industry. They were ideal for this kind of work because they were strong and small. This meant they could carry heavy loads and move well in limited spaces. They were also used in the army as pack animals and in farms and households as work ponies.

Eventually though, the changing times reduced the need for these work ponies. This and the losses sustained by the breed during the war reduced their numbers. Although breeders had been attempting to promote the welfare and pure breeding of these ponies in the early 1900s, their population did not swell to safer numbers until the second half of the 1900s.

Dales Pony Traits

The appearance of this pony will tell you all you need to know about it. It can grow as high as 14.2 hands but its thickset build will give you the impression that it is shorter. It has short but compact muscled legs, hindquarters and neck. Its chest is wide and its shoulders sloping. Its hooves are of the sturdy blue horn type allowing for steady footing. Many ponies come in black but some of them are grey or brown.

Dales Ponies are strong, powerful, hardy, diligent and resilient. They are however also calm, manageable and intelligent. These combined traits make them perfect work ponies because they can easily be handled to produce desired results. Dales Ponies are divided into two in their registry according to the amount of white markings on the pony body. There is also a separate listing for ponies with only a fraction of the Dales Pony blood influence.

The Dales Pony Today

Like many other pony and horse breeds, these ponies are rarely used for hard labor. Dales Ponies however are more than just stable display animals. They can also be used to compete in such events as riding, jumping, dressage and driving. The stamina of a Dales Pony also makes it perfect for endurance riding. Of course, like many other pony breeds, they are also perfect for teaching first time riders. They may be used to teach young riders but they are often recommended for older ones because of their solid and powerful body structures.

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