Native to the upper dales of Northern Yorkshire, England, is the Dales Pony. The ancestors of the Dales pony include to a large degree the Pennine Pony, with infusions of several other breeds including the Galloway, Norfolk Trotter and Wilson Pony blood. Dales ponies were bred specifically for the Pennine lead industry as pack ponies, and they soon became famous for their ability to quickly navigate rough country under heavy weights. With the advent of railways and better roads, the ponies found a niche on the small farms of the inhospitable upper dales; the strength and surefootedness of the ponies lends them to farm work where larger horses were at a disadvantage. These stylish and fast ponies were also successful in the trotting races, hunting and they served the Army as pack and mountain artillery ponies.
These hardy ponies are up to 14.2 hands, and though the predominant color is black, other colors include brown, gray, bay and occasionally roan. Their hooves are of hard blue horn, well-shaped and the legs have beautiful dense bone. Their action is straight and true, really using their knees and hocks for powerful drive. They have tremendous stamina, an iron constitution and great intelligence, all combined with a calm temperament.
The head should be neat, showing no coarseness about the jaw or throat. An abundant long mane of straight hair cover a muscular neck that is well laid onto sloping shoulders. The body should be compact with strong loins and well sprung ribs. Short, well developed forearms set square into a broad chest; the quarters powerful and muscular, the hocks clean. The cannons should display an average of 8”-9” of flat flinty bone with well defined tendons. Their pasterns should be of good length and covered with ample silky straight ‘feather’.
Dales ponies excel in many equine disciplines giving rise to the term “The Great All-Rounder”. Under saddle they are steady, and full of stamina. They are calm enough for children, but are better suited to adolescents or adults. In harness they will perform any task asked of them; dressage, plowing or marathons.
Dales Pony Assocation North America, P.O. Box 733, Walkerton, Ontario, Canada N0G 2V0, (705)541-9106, Jo Ann Bailey-Moffi, secretary/registrar email: firstname.lastname@example.org