Shawn made a new friend last week up in Herring Neck – a Newfoundland Pony!

The following information is taken from the Newfoundland Pony Society: Please visit their site to learn more about the Newfoundland Pony, and how you can help them!

“The Newfoundland Pony is known for its strength, courage, intelligence, obedience, and common sense. Newfoundland Ponies are hard workers and easy keepers and are a breed unique to this province.

In the past, the Newfoundland Pony ploughed gardens; hauled fishing nets, kelp and wood; gathered hay; and provided their families with transportation around the Island. The centre piece of many weddings in fact, was often a pony and a carriage that proudly carried the bride to the church on her wedding day. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the ponies were replaced by tractor power, cars and ATVs. It cost money to feed and keep a pony and many Newfoundlanders could not afford to keep them. When the Province brought in anti-roaming animal by-laws, it meant that fences had to be built to keep ponies in. This added even more expense to keeping a pony with the loss of the common ground for grazing.

The darkest part of the Newfoundland Pony’s history was during this period when horse dealers combed the island looking for ponies to ship to mainland slaughter plants. There, they were destined for the dinner tables of France and Belgium. According to records, in 1980 alone, approximately 700 ponies were shipped out of the province to Quebec. To protect this special and historic pony, the Newfoundland Government has recognized it as a Heritage Animal. It is estimated that the current Newfoundland Pony population is between 500-600 animals in Canada and the U.S. Many are gelded or aged mares, so not suitable for breeding purposes. An ongoing effort on the part of concerned individuals from across Canada has stabilized the population. However, the Newfoundland Pony continues to be identified as a critically endangered species.

Today, the Newfoundland Pony is used for riding, driving and light work. They have an excellent temperament for young people to ride and excel under saddle, and in harness.”

Information Credit: Newfoundland Pony Society