Believed to have developed in the late 17th century through crossing between Pennine mares and the now extinct Scottish Galloway pony, the Dales was selectively bred to fulfil an important role in the rugged landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.
Described as the perfect ‘all-rounder,’ the Dales horse boasts good conformation, hardiness, exceptional strength and sure-footedness, and was capable of working tirelessly transporting the fuel, ore and lead that was needed for the mining trade over difficult moorlands.
Recognising their numerous qualities, the Dales breed was heavily enlisted in both World Wars as a dependable pack horse. With the advent of mechanisation, demand for these horses diminished and the Dales had to adapt to new uses.
Characterised by a relatively short and broad body, with strong legs that are well feathered and a thick mane and tail, the Dales is a handsome native breed with a lot to offer. Despite efforts being made following the Second World War to revive the Dales and improve breed numbers, it is still considered rare and endangered today.
Whilst it is still thought of as a pony, the Dales is the largest of all native English ponies, with an average height ranging between 14-14.5 hands.