St. John’s, NL – The Newfoundland Pony Society (NPS) today announced a census to determine the number and location of Newfoundland Ponies in the Province. The census and oral history component will take place until March 29, 2013 and is being conducted in partnership with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL). The Newfoundland Pony is listed as a critically endangered species by Rare Breeds Canada. It is believed that there are fewer than 400 Newfoundland Ponies in North America with only 250 of these ponies able to be bred.
"We are collecting information on the number of Newfoundland Ponies living in Newfoundland and Labrador so an accurate picture of their population can be determined,” said Jack Harris, Member of Parliament and NPS Board Member. “The hard-working Newfoundland Pony was an integral part of Newfoundlanders’ survival. We need to work together to protect one of our greatest and unique natural assets to ensure that the Newfoundland Pony has a place in our future,” Harris added.
Conducting the census research for the NPS is Joelle Carey, a Masters in Folklore student from Memorial University. Residents of the Province who own a Newfoundland Pony or who have information about the pony that they’d like to share should contact Joelle Carey at 1.888.739.1892, Extension 5. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We are pleased to partner with the Newfoundland Pony Society on this project because the stories, knowledge and history associated with Newfoundland Ponies are just as important to preserve as the breed itself,” said says Dale Jarvis, Cultural Heritage Development Officer with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Decline of the Newfoundland Pony
In the early 1970s, the Newfoundland Pony population was approximately 12,000. By the late 1980s, it had declined to only 100 animals. Several factors contributed to the rapid decimation of the pony population. Modern machinery replaced the pony in many jobs. Municipalities enacted laws limiting the keeping of livestock and availability of pastures. The greatest factor was the sale of the ponies to livestock dealers on the mainland for the meat trade in Europe.
Characteristics of the Newfoundland Pony
The Newfoundland Pony is an "all purpose" pony and has many desirable characteristics including strength, courage, intelligence, obedience, willingness, and common sense. Newfoundland Ponies are hard workers and easy keepers. Physical characteristics include:
is a good winter animal, being all around hardy
has a structure that can vary from fine-boned types to larger stocky types
height that can vary from 11.0 to 14.2 hands
coat colour can be black, brown, chestnut, bay, dun, grey, roan and white (pink skin)
coat is heavy and sometimes changes colour and character seasonally
has a thick mane and tail – usually black
has a low-set mane and tail
has a short, broad head with small ears
has flint hard hooves
About the Newfoundland Pony Society
The Newfoundland Pony Society was founded in 1979 and was incorporated in 1981 as a Registered Charity (#899 123 053 RRO 001). In 1994, a resolution was brought to the floor of the House of Assembly by then MHA Jack Harris that laid the groundwork for the protection of the Newfoundland Pony. The Newfoundland Pony Society is designated as the organization responsible for the preservation and protection of this animal. For more information, visit www.newfoundlandpony.com.