The Dales Pony – 100 years of Service


2 April - 4 September

From the mid-19th century to the end of the second world war, thousands of Dales ponies were to be seen in our northern and midland towns. They were familiar light tradesman’s ponies, worked on pit banks and in lead mines and they provided the muscle-power on virtually every farm in the dales of North Yorkshire and County Durham until the introduction of the tractor. During the second world war many Dales ponies were taken by the army for pack work and mountain artillery with many never returning from service. They are now used in all disciplines as a true pleasure pony but remain critically endangered as classified by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust with less than 90 foals born every year.

2016 marked the Centenary of the formation of the Dales Pony Society with Barnard Castle being the hometown of the society having held its meetings and shows in and around the town since its inception. This exhibition highlighted the history of this rare breed showing why the Dales Pony is known as the “Great All-rounder”.

Related Event


Dales Pony Society Marks Centenary
24 July, 11.00 – 3.00

The grounds of The Bowes Museum welcome a special four-legged visitor when Dales pony Rocky pays a visit with his owners, who will chat to visitors about this rare breed native to Teesdale. Have your picture taken with Rocky, and learn how the breed was once the backbone of many hill farms in the area. Rocky’s visit complements the current display in the Museum, which highlights the breed during the Dales Pony Society’s centenary year.