Dales ponies are native to the upper dales of North East England and were bred specifically for the Pennine lead industry which used them as a pack pony. They were able and agile enough to get over rough country under heavy weight at a good speed. Dales ponies were also used for work on small hill farms, carrying shepherd and hay great distances on teh fells and are also good in harness. These ponies were also used by the Army as pack ponies and after the Second World War were very short in numbers. Thanks to some forward thinking men in the North East, the breed survived through a very few ponies and although the breed is classed as critically rare by the RBST, numbers are slowly increasing.
Conformation and Type
These very hardy ponies are ideally 14hh to 14.2hh. Colours are rdominantly black, with some brown, bay, grey and more rarely blue or bay roan. White markings are allowed as a star and/or snip, and white to hind fetlocks only. Ponies displaying more white than this are downgraded to Section B of the Dales Pony Stud Book. Dales ponies are renowned for the quality of their hard, well-shaped feet and legs, their cannons should display 8-9" of beautifully dense, flat, flinty bone. Pasterns should be of good length, with flexible joints, their hooves large, round and open at the heels with well-developed frogs. Feather should be straight and silky, a good handful at the heel and a covering over the hooves. Manes should be left long and should also be straight and silky. Heads should be neat and pony-like, showing no dish. They are broad between the eyes, the muzzle is relatively small. Ears should be incurving and pony-like. A muscular neck of ample length for a bold outlook should be set into well-laid sloping shoulders and withers which are not too fine. The body should be short-coupled, with strng loins and well-sprung ribs. Short and well-developed forearms are set into a broad chest. Their quarters will be lengthy and powerful, with very muscular seond thighs above clean, broad, flat hocks. Stallions will carry a well-arched crest.
These ponies have tremendous stamina, are courageous and very intelligent while having a generally calm and sensible temperament. They are good movers and their action is straight, high and true.