To Know the Newfoundland Pony IS
to love it
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Newfoundland Pony is a "made in Newfoundland" pony that evolved over hundreds of years from some of the oldest known breeds in Great Britain and Ireland. It is North America's lone member of the Moorland Family of horses and it is on the verge of extinction.
Ancestors of the Newfoundland Pony came to the New World with the first colonists who sought to make fortunes from the lucrative cod fishery. They required strong, hardy animals that could survive severe winter conditions on very little. The Exmoor, Dartmoor, New Forest, Connemara, Welsh Mountain, Highland and the now extinct Galloway breeds, were ponies that the emigrants were familiar with and who fit the tough, winter-hardy criteria. These ponies provided the foundation stock for what would become the ‘Newfoundland Pony’ over 400 years. They came to have their own distinct appearance and characteristics and their ability to work hard and long was well respected.
For centuries the resident ponies helped Newfoundlanders plow, haul and transport goods (and people!). Many a time the pony's natural sense of survival saved its owner from certain death when they were caught out in a blizzard or while attempting to cross unsafe ice. The ponies worked hard most of the year but in the summer were turned out to roam the open spaces while the men left to fish for the season. They mingled and bred at will with no fences to confine them. Gardens and crops were fenced from the ponies instead!
In the latter part of the twentieth century, the world became mechanized and what was once a valued friend, co-worker and comrade became a nuisance and unneeded expense. Many thousands of ponies ended up at auctions and slaughterhouses. In time, the provincial government passed a Heritage Animal Act which protected the pony from total destruction, setting policies that made it illegal to transport a pony off the island without a permit. The mass exodus to the slaughterhouses was stopped but it was almost too late.
In TOday's World
Today the Newfoundland Pony is used in all area's of the equine world from working ponies to sports like jumping, driving, western games etc.
There are under 300 registered Newfoundland Ponies of breedable age, located across Canada and the Northern USA. Although breeders are enthusiastic about the pony and are concerned for their future, the distances between breeding animals is a serious issue.
Highland Creek Farm believes the Newfoundland Pony deserves it's recognition as a Heritage Animal, but that status alone will not save it from extinction. Rare Breeds Canada still classifies the Newfoundland Pony as "Critical" on it's endangered list. Currently the Newfoundland Pony is not recognized federally as a 'distinct breed'. The Newfoundland Pony Society based out of St. John's, Newfoundland, classifies the pony as a "landrace heritage pony" - a domesticated pony that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment, isolated from other populations.
It is believed by many owners, breeders, and enthusiasts that Federal Breed Status will be the single act that will go the farthest to ensure the success and survival of this special pony. A movement was started in 2010 that would work towards obtaining purebred status under the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada (APA). The process evolved to the creation of a Core Working Group (CWG) made up of 4 representatives, who would work along side APA Animal Registration Officer, David Truss to develop a proposal that could be submitted to the APA for consideration of the Newfoundland Pony.
Over the next 3 years the CWG made the effort to develop this plan and define the Newfoundland Pony characteristics and develop a breed plan. In June of 2013, after 5 published bulletins by the CWG and on the verge of submission to APA, the Executive Council of the Newfoundland Pony Society voted NOT to endorse the proposals by the CWG for having the Newfoundland pony recognized as an "Evolving Breed" under the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada.
To this date, little ground has been made on pursuing breed status under the APA but owners and breeders are still making the effort to keep this special pony alive.
HIGHLAND CREEK FARM
Highland Creek Farm is owned by John Scanlan and is situated in the north end of the Bowmanville/Orono boarder in Ontario. After a visit to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair a number of years ago, John was introduced to the Newfoundland Pony and was exposed to their passive, willing, obedient and intelligent nature. Upon hearing that these ponies were nearing extinction, he became actively involved in ensuring this Canadian treasure will be with us for years to come.
The Farm is now home to a collection of Newfoundland Ponies of all shapes and sizes. HCF is committed to showing off the talent the Newfoundland Pony possesses in an effort to educate and intrigue potential buyers, breeders and trainers looking for the special kind of pony.
Anyone who owns a Newfoundland Pony knows how special they are with their content, willing and easy-going attitudes. The entire team at HCF truly believes that through quality breeding and attendance at shows, fairs, events, and demonstrations, more and more people will become aware of and desire these all-round ponies.
To know the Newfoundland Pony is to love it. It will take everyone’s efforts to ensure the pony continues to be a part of the equine world and to safeguard it from slipping into the shadows.
- Ranging in height from 11 hands high to 14.2 hands high. Typically found as small or medium ponies (between 11 - 13.2hh). Large ponies (13.3hh - 14.2hh) are not as common.
- Typical “pony” in appearance with small ears and shaggy winter coats, thick mane and low-set tail, with feathered fetlocks.
- Some are fine-boned like the New Forest or heavier like the Fell, and are sturdy enough for adults to ride and drive.
- Come in the full range of solid colours with bay being the most common. Some are even “radical changers” meaning they change colours with the seasons.
- Markings are typically minimal, but the existence of white is not excluded.
- Their hauling and driving abilities are well know but today ponies are being used in all riding disciplines; Hunter/Jumper, Western, Dressage, Saddle Seat. TRUE ALL ROUND PONIES.
- They can work tirelessly all day, showing great endurance.
- Some are known to have a comfortable amble gait - a gift from their extinct Galloway ancestors.
- They are a good winter animal, very hardy, with flint hard hooves.
- Docile and easy to train - very smart and willing to learn.