Friday, 26 June 2015

A trip to the Dales (Teesdale)

So, after a bit of a break from photographing the British native ponies, I finally arranged a trip to the north of England to photograph some native Dales ponies. The Dales ponies are on the Rare breeds survival trust watch list as 'critical' which is at the very top of the endangered breeds.  This means there are very few breeding Dales ponies around, and they are in danger of going extinct, which is very sad as they are wonderful ponies. 

 Dales pony mare with her young foal

I had always thought that the Dales ponies were from the Yorkshire Dales, but they are actually from a much larger area.  The Dales Pony is a native of the upper dales of the eastern slopes of the Pennine range, from the High Peak in Derbyshire all the way to the Cheviot Hills near the Scottish Border, so that covers North Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland areas.  The favoured breeding areas have always been the upper dales of the rivers Tyne, Wear, Allen, Tees and Swale.

A Dales pony with a view of Teesdale behind

They were bred in this area, where the lead mining industry flourished from Roman times until the mid-nineteenth century, because they were excellent pack ponies.

Unfortunately, there are no wild or completely free roaming Dales ponies on the Dales anymore, so I found a Dales pony breeder that breeds ponies true to type, and has them out grazing on the Teesdale hills over looking the beautiful Dales area.

This is the website of the very kind people who let me photograph their lovely ponies:

 Roandale stud Dales ponies

As usual I found the ponies and hung out with them for quite a few hours (which went far too quick) to get some natural shots of the ponies doing their thing.

Dales pony

Please click on the photos to see them larger, and remember I have many of my pony images for sale in my Etsy shop