The Dales pony is one of the United Kingdom's native mountain and moorland pony breeds. The breed is known for its strength, hardiness, stamina, courage, intelligence, and good disposition. The history of the modern Dales pony is strongly linked to the history of lead mining in the Dales area of England, from the Derbyshire peaks to the Scottish borders. It was originally a working pony descended from a number of breeds.
These very hardy ponies are ideally 14hh to 14.2hh Colors 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. Dales Ponies are renowned for the quality of their hard, well-shaped feet and legs, which should display beautiful dense, flat bone. Their action is straight, high and true. They are good movers, really using their knees and hocks for powerful drive. They have tremendous stamina, an iron constitution, high courage and great intelligence, combined with a calm temperament.
Dales Ponies were bred for a specific job in a harsh environment. When the job changed, they were successfully adapted for other uses, and today the ponies can demonstrate all the qualities and abilities which brought their forebears such renown. The combination of strength, agility, thrift, hardiness and high courage, with good conformation and a calm, intelligent nature, makes the Dales Pony a first-class riding and driving pony with all the abilities of a true all-rounder.
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 favourites 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. They have a bold temperament, great presence and an eye-catching fast trot, together with stamina, agility and a calm, sensible nature.
Dales Ponies are usually good in traffic, do not panic in awkward situations, and are very sure-footed. All their qualities make the Dales a first choice as a driving pony, either for pleasure, or for driving trials.