The Newfoundland Pony originated in Newfoundland and Labrador between the early-1600s and mid-1900s after settlers from the British Isles brought over a variety of pony breeds to the province including Dartmoor, Exmoor, Dales, Connemara, New Forest, and Welsh Mountain, which crossbred freely. They were used for ploughing and other farm chores, kelp-hauling, as pack animals, and for transportation. By 1935 there were over 9,000 of these tough, hardy ponies on the island, but during the mid-20th century the population plummeted because of mechanization in agriculture, a ban on free-roaming ponies, and the demand for horse meat in Europe. Around 700 ponies were shipped out of Newfoundland in 1980 alone for that purpose. From roughly 12,000 ponies in the 1970s, their numbers dropped to fewer than 100 in the 1980s.
The population recovered a bit when the Newfoundland Pony Society was formed in 1981, but still remains low, at about 250 individuals. In 1997, the Newfoundland Pony was declared a heritage breed of Newfoundland and Labrador. Rare Breeds Canada categorizes it as “critical” on their conservation watch list.
The Newfoundland Pony is courageous, intelligent, and obedient, as well as winter-hardy and sure-footed. The body may be fine-boned or a more stocky type ranging from 11-14.2 hands; typically it has a smaller head, pointed ears, short back, muscular body, feathered fetlocks, tough hooves, and a thick mane and tail. Acceptable coat colouring includes solid bay, black, brown, chestnut, dun, grey, roan and white, but not piebald or pinto markings. Newfoundland Ponies have been known to live 25-30 years.
The Newfoundland Pony is typically used for driving, pleasure riding, and light draft work, although they can also be found competing at western and English horse shows.
Read more about the Newfoundland Pony here.
For more information, visit:
Newfoundland Pony Society