The Early History
Bring me out my black Dales pony,
Put a saddle on his back,
There’s more value for your money,
Than in Clydesdale, Barb or Hack.
Talk of Welsh or Exmoor pony,
Shetland, Iceland or what other,
Put me on my doughty crony,
For to me he’s like a brother.
Not so big as ponderous Shire,
Not so soft as Suffolk horse,
In him what I most admire
Is his mettle, but of course.
Look upon his noble forehead,
Note his flashing, rolling eye,
Mark his flanks so strongly knitted
Scan his flattened shins, forebye.
See the bony feathered fetlock
And his stout and ample chest,
When I laud, it should not shock,
If I say he’s of the best.
Put him into any harness,
Yoke him into cart or trap,
Mount him, ride to any farness,
You’ll be proud of this fine chap.
He has blood and he has wildfire,
Yet as quiet as any lamb.
A Spanish entire was his sire,
And mare of Galloway his dam.
What d’ye expect of such a creature
What can but blood avail,
There is every solid feature
In this breed of old Weardale.
The Pack Ponies
Load the ponies, row and row
Head to tails, that’s how they go,
Eight to a box, the train pulls out
Goodbye, Bless you – the owners shout.
Ponies so black, and so very wise
Will carry the packs over mountain sides
To men who are in such desperate need
For ammunition, also their feed!
Ammunition, and bully beef,
Can only come for all their needs,
By the black ponies from the north
From the hills and dales, where they were brought.
Over the mountains far and wide
They took their loads stride for stride,
With Indian grooms who they did not know,
Could not understand their word to ‘go’.
They began their training in the wild Welsh hills,
Alas, they had so many spills,
Not their fault so it was said,
Because their packs was not neatly spread.
Their mothers and fathers, years ago
To Pateley Bridge they would go
From the mines over ‘Greenhow Hill’
Alas – now so very still.
Thousands of tons of lead came down
On the backs of ponies of such renown,
Good black ponies with feet so hard,
Over shingle and stones were not impaired.
In your hands, you have the breed
That showed its toughness in the time of need.
Keep up this work you worthy men,
Now they want ‘Dales’ so much again
Come to Malvern show this year,
To show this breed is ever pure,
So many people will so buy
The ponies who are not harness shy.
Miles Staveley (no date)