If you’re looking for a strong, resilient, friendly, and beautiful horse to add to your collection, I recommend the Dales pony. Don’t let the name fool you. The Dale pony is one of the fiercest and most powerful ponies you can find, with an elegant presence and outstanding physical characteristics.
The Dales breed lies just at the limit between horse and pony, which explains why so many Dales ponies are as large and as heavy as horses.
History and Origin
The Dales pony owes its genes to the mine working horses in the Yorkshire Dales mines. These horses lead back to the Roman empire when they were used as pack animals and for carrying ore, fuel, and gear. Their specialization shifted over time, with the industrialization era moving them to the agricultural sector.
These heavy-duty activities demanded the assistance of a strong and resilient animal, and the Dales pony is the direct embodiment of that. This explains the pony’s size and strength as well as its more direct resemblance to a horse rather than your typical pony.
Size and Height
The pony stands up at 13 – 14.2 hands. That’s roughly 52 to 57 inches which is the height of a medium-sized horse. Pair its size with a muscular and well-rounded body, and you will have difficulties understanding why this beautiful animal ranks as a pony.
The Dales pony reaches, on average, around 1,000 pounds. Again, this is the standard weight for a medium-sized horse breed. Many horse breeds would weigh less than that and with a less impressive physique. The pony’s sheer size and weight stand evidence for the high-quality horse genes it is packing.
Black is the common color, but the Dales pony also comes in gray, brown, bar, or roan. In even rarer cases, the animal may display white markings on the back.
The Dales pony can reach average speeds at around 25 to 30 miles per hour. But this isn’t the pony’s native strength. Its true asset is resilience. Purebred ponies have been thoroughly tested over the years, with their endurance becoming something of a legend.
Records suggest that your typical Dales pony can travel around 50 miles per day carrying 100 lbs. at average and above-average speeds. This is an amazing feat of endurance, resilience, and strength that few other ponies and horses can equal.
The Dales pony is calm, friendly, alert, intelligent, and easy to train. It’s these characteristics that make the pony so appreciate within the community. It’s also one of the main reasons standing at the foundation of its breeding over the years.
The pony will live between 25 to 30 years, which is a typical lifespan in the equine world. This timeframe can lower or increase depending on several factors like food quality, general health, and overall lifestyle. The Dales pony is also prone to some genetic conditions, which may also lower its life expectancy overall.
Diet and Nutrition
The Dales pony enjoys its daily hay and low-calorie grain. However, you may need to supplement its diet in many cases, especially if you’re raising it far from its natural habitat. This means adding minerals and vitamins via food concentrate that would supplement its diet and ensure vital nutrients.
I suggest getting your food supplements from trusted and known brands only. Not all food supplements pack the same nutrients, and many can be deceiving with their contents. The supplement’s quality will also significantly improve your pony’s overall health over the years.
The Dales pony needs consistent grooming and cleaning due to its rich and impressive mane and tail. Most ponies will grow thick and long manes that can easily become entangled and dirty. A mane brush is necessary to prevent that, along with the regular equine grooming tools for coat and hoof cleaning.
Other than that, you only need to bathe the pony every several days, depending on its physical activity and the environment it’s living in. Field working ponies will probably need more cleaning and bathing compared to one living as a pet for casual riding.
The Dales pony is incredibly adaptable, able to meet any physical demands. This makes the pony fit for participating in show jumping, speed and endurance competitions, farm work, hunting events, dressage, casual riding, etc. After all, the pony has served in WWI; it’s only natural that its physical abilities are top-notch.
There are a lot of Dales ponies available for sale in the US and abroad. You can find them at prices ranging between $2,500 to $7,000 or more. Several factors are influencing the price, including the pony’s age, pedigree, parents, overall health, history of parental disease, temperament, and more.
If you’re looking to buy a Dales pony shortly, I suggest taking your time to find the ideal specimen. After all, these ponies can live in excess of 30 years, which means you will have it with you for most of your life. It’s worth choosing it carefully to make sure you get a healthy, strong, and friendly companion to add to your family.
The Dales pony shows a genetic predisposition to Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This is a genetic, progressive condition that compromises the pony’s immune system and causes fatal anemia.
There are several breeds of ponies predisposed to this condition, including the Fell pony. The disorder has an incidence of 40% for the Fell pony and around 20% for the Dales, which is still high.
Some of the most common symptoms of Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome include:
- Lethargy and lack of energy throughout the day
- Drastically reduced appetite
- Poor growth
- Regular diarrhea
- Signs of anemia
- Nasal discharge and coughing, etc.
There may be additional symptoms as well, which is why I recommend speaking to a veterinarian about the issue. The good news is that the majority of symptoms will occur around the age of 2 to 8 weeks. Buying a Dales pony older than that should prevent the condition.
You should also remember that the pony may develop infections due to the compromised symptoms, often with fatal consequences. Currently, there is no treatment for the condition.
It seems, however, that there are ways to prevent the spread of this disorder. The most effective one is preventing carriers from breeding.
The Dales pony population was on the brink of extinction in the 70s and has since recovered slightly. The latest report showed a population of 800 individuals worldwide, with 70 specimens in North America. The figures have definitely changed over the years, but don’t expect anything too drastic.
The Dales pony is the strongest and most beautiful horse in the pony world. Sorry, I had to say it. If you want to get a Dales pony, I suggest looking for professional breeders who will provide you with a healthy and strong specimen. The Dales pony is a friendly, powerful, and loyal companion, fit for competitive events and casual riding alike.
If you’re interested in getting a Dales pony but wish to learn more about the breed first, hit the comment section below. I will participate in the discussion as soon as I’m available.Horse Breeds