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Shetland pony
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Horse show

A Horse show is a judged exhibition of horses and ponies. Many different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines hold competitions worldwide, from local to the international levels.

Most popular horse breed

Shetland pony

The Shetland pony is a breed of pony originating in the Shetland Isles. Its the smallest of all pony breeds, and is also the most popular. read more

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Akhal-Teke

The Akhal-Teke is an elegant, exotic animal exuding grace, power and athleticism. read more

Dales Pony breed information

HBL rank
#12

Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed Dales Pony horse breed
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Modified on: 8/28/2015 9:26:20 AM

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Dales Pony horse general information

  • COLOR
    Colours are predominantly black, with some brown, bay grey and, rarely, roan. White markings are allowed as a star and/or a snip, and white to the hind fetlocks, and ponies displaying more white than this are down graded to Section B.
  • SIZE
    These very hardy ponies are ideally 14 - 14.2 hands high.
  • WEIGHT
    N/A
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY
    N/A
  • ORIGIN
    The Dales most likely originates from Celtic pony origins. During Roman times the pony was crossed with Friesian blood giving it a notable action. Although traces of Clydesdale still remain in the character of the Dales, the practice of crossing the pony with Clydes was discouraged by the Dales Pony Society when it was founded in 1916. Before this, however, the Dales was crossed with the Welsh Cob to improve it for farm work. The most notable influence was the Welsh Cob, Comet, whose influence can be seen in every modern Dales.
  • USES
    The combination of good conformation with energy and ability make the dales pony excellent for riding. They are unbeatable at walk, and have the stamina and determination to keep going over long distances, making them favorites for trekking and long distance rides. Being willing and clever jumpers, they compete very successfully in cross - country, performance classes and dressage competitions. They easily carry heavy adults and are kind enough to carry children, but are best suited to competent adult and teenage riders.
  • INFLUENCE
    Friesian, Welsh Cob
  • TEMPRERAMENT
    Dales pony has a true pony character. Alert, courageous, intelligent and kind.

Dales Pony description

The Dales Pony is native to the upper dales of North East England, and was bred specifically for the Pennine lead industry as a pack pony. Dales Ponies were also used as a work horse on small hill farms in the area and were almost wiped out when they served with the Army as pack and Mountain Artillery ponies due to their tremendous stamina, courage, intelligence and calm temperament. Today, the Dales Pony is a favorite for trekking and long distance riding, but also are popular in cross - country, performance classes, dressage and driving.


The head should be neat, showing no dish, and broad between the eyes. The muzzle is relatively small, no coarseness about the jaw and throat, and incurving pony ears. A long foretop, main and tail of straight, silky hair, and a muscular neck of ample length for a bold outlook should be set into well-laid, sloping shoulders. Withers not too fine. Stallions carry a well-arched crest. The body should be short-coupled, with strong loins and well-sprung ribs. Short, well- developed forearms are set into a broad chest. Quarters are lengthy and powerful, with very muscular second thighs above clean, broad, flat hocks, well let down. The cannons should display an average of 8” to 9” of flat, flinty bone with well-developed tendons. The pasterns should be of good length, with very flexible joints; the hooves large, round and open at the heels with well-developed frogs, and with ample straight, silky feather.

Dales Pony history

Separated by the Pennine Range in Northern England, the Dales and Fell breeds share a common genetic heritage and similar, though distinct, histories. Once believed to be two types of the same breed, today the Dales and Fell are divided into separate studbooks and societies. Dales ponies were bred specifically in the 19th and early 20th centuries for the Pennine lead industry as pack ponies and won renown for their ability to quickly cover rough country under daunting loads.


As railways emerged and road systems improved, the Dales found a niche on the small farms in and around Yorkshire. With their unusual strength, sensible natures, and remarkable agility, they offered great advantages to the small farmer. In the early 1900’s, a Welsh Cob stallion named “Comet” was crossed to many high quality Dales mares, passing on a more free-moving shoulder and increased athleticism. The resulting stylish ponies, with their famous eye-catching trot, were unmatched in trotting races and provided a fashionable carriage drive into town for the family. These same family farmers recognized in the hardworking Dales an innate jumping talent and many became the preferred mount for a good day’s hunt, easily carrying an adult of 250 lbs or more. In short, the Dales Pony literally did it all.



Sadly, because of their compact size, relaxed temperament, bravery, and legendary strength, Dales Ponies were used extensively by the British Army in both World Wars; by 1955 very few registered ponies remained. Fortunately, through the support of dedicated breeders, their numbers have gradually increased to just over 800 worldwide, with approximately 100 living in the US today. They are listed as “Critical”, the most at-risk category with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, though both their numbers and overall quality continue to improve.

Dales Pony fun facts

Population status is still listed as endangered and there is less than a thousand currently registered.


Dales ponies can travel over 200 miles every week with a weight of over 200lbs.

Information for Dales Pony contributed by

We would like to thank Anna for these wonderful pictures of Dales Pony.

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