The Dales Pony comes from the eastern slope of England's Pennines Range, originating from the ancient Pennine Pony that once lived there and the now extinct Scottish Galloway. When the Romans invaded the area between 43 and 410 AD, they discovered the the small ponies were strong, so they began using the ponies to carry heavy loads of lead from various to mines to mills. Often, the ponies would travel as much as 200 hundred miles a week without tiring.
Later, Norfolk Trotter, Yorkshire Roadster, and Friesian blood was added to the mix, creating a pony with even more speed and substance, as well as flashy knee action from the trotter. In the eighteenth century, the agile pony with lots of stamina became favored by hunters. To improve the gait of the pony, a Welsh Cob stallion by the name Comet was breed to the dales in the 1850s. Not long after that, with the improvement of roads, the Dales became a stage coach horses.
In 1916, the breed stud book was opened and the Dales Pony Improvement Society was formed. It was in the early part of this century, however, that the breed was hit pretty bad. They were used during the first World War and again in World War II. World War II almost brought the end of the breed. Hundreds of mares were taken by the army to by used for breeding cavalry mounts, many never to return to their homeland again. In 1964, The Dales Pony Improvement Society, who then changed their name to the Dales Pony Society, began to make efforts to save the breed. They searched for Dales Ponies, registering them and breeding them. Over the next seven years, the number of ponies steadily increased. Today, only about 300 exist in North America.
|Dales Ponies and strong and sturdy, commonly coming in black.|
Dales Ponies, standing 14 hands high on average, are sturdy and muscular. They have strong, solid hooves, often tinted blue; clean legs with some feathering on them; sloping shoulders; arched necks; a straight profile; and a small muzzle. They are most commonly black, but bay, gray, and roan sometimes occurs.
The Dales' endurance makes it excellent in almost every equestrian sport, particularly driving and English sports.