About the Dales Pony

About the Dales Pony


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.

A short history about the Dales Pony.


Conformation and Type

These very hardy ponies are ideally 14.h.h. to 14.2.h.h. 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. 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. 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.

Please refer to the Breed Standard for more details.

Registering Dales Ponies

Ponies can only be accepted for registration through the Dales Pony Society. Ponies entered in the stud book must have three generations of recorded breeding on both sides. Applications will only be accepted for ponies up to 31 December in the year of their birth. Exceptions to this rule will be considered by Council.


Registered as follows:

  • Colts eligible for stallion status must be by a registered, licensed stallion and out of a Section A mare, and must display correct markings. All stallions are re-entered in the stud book when licensed.
  • Colts out of Section B or C mares; or mismarked colts out of Section A mares are not eligible for stallion status. These colts will be issued with a gelding number, and must be castrated at a suitable age.


Must be licensed from three years of age.

Fillies and Geldings

Registered as follows:

Section A: By a registered, licensed stallion, and out of either a Section A or a Section B mare, and displaying correct markings.

Section B: By a registered, licensed stallion and: 

a) out of a Section A or a Section B mare, but displaying incorrect markings.
b) out of Section C mare, and correct in type and colour.

Section C: By a registered, licensed stallion and out of Section D mare, and correct in type & colour.

Section D: Passed by two inspectors as being true to type, height and colour (closed 31 December 1971).


Part Bred Register

The Society also maintains a part bred register, to encourage the production of horses of good quality with substance, courage and agility, from Dales stallions. Cross breeding from Dales mares is discouraged as the breed is still recovering from near extinction being category I (critical) by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (see Useful Links). The DPS will register part breds down to 25% proven Dales breeding.



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.


The Dales Pony has a bold temperament, great presence and an eye-catching fast trot, together with stamina, agility and a calm, sensible nature. They 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.