Newfoundland Ponies Galore

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

If you look over to the hill on the left while driving down the Northwest Road into Lunenburg, you’re likely to see a group of ponies perched at the very top, grazing and enjoying the view of the Lunenburg Academy.

This iconic herd is in fact a group of critically endangered Newfoundland ponies owned by Lisa Partridge of P&P Pastures Homestead. She has been working hard at conserving and cultivating the breed here in Lunenburg County and beyond.

Currently, there are only an estimated 500 Newfoundland ponies in the world. Lisa owns approximately 2.3% of them – eight registered, a part-bred and two on the way.

Newfoundland ponies are historically known for being all-around workhorses in Newfoundland, assisting with ploughing, carrying wood, and even hauling kelp and nets from the shorelines.

But as Newfoundland became mechanized and the need for draft animals fell, the population swiftly declined throughout the 1960s-80s from an estimated 12 000 to fewer than 100.

Due to strict fencing laws and a lack of resources, the few ponies that remained were being sold for meat up until 1997 when the Heritage Animals Act set by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided legal protections for the breed.

This act ensured that the ponies only left the island by permit to go to breeders or designated homes. The breed is currently scattered across North America, with many living and being bred in Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, and of course, Newfoundland. 

The 200+ acre farm has been in Lisa’s partner Brian’s family for five generations and is also home to cattle, horses, guinea fowl, chickens and goats.

The crew of Newfoundland ponies includes Buddy, a 17-year-old stallion, or “the 2005 model” according to Lisa; Kitchen Party and Keiran, the newest editions; Sass, Queen, Diva, the ladies, and more.

The ponies are known for their hardiness and calm tempers, which Lisa is showcasing as she studies to become an equine-assisted learning facilitator.

The ponies and their friends, one of which is Ellie the mini horse who was previously featured in The Barnacle, will be able to promote physical and mental well-being to participants.

We’re truly lucky to be able to see these beautiful ponies on the hill. It makes the sightings even more extraordinary knowing that they were on the brink of extinction within our lifetime. With the help of Lisa and other pony enthusiasts, we hope that the number of Newfoundland ponies will continue to grow. 


One response to “Newfoundland Ponies Galore”

  1. Jessie Brewer

    I lived in Newfoundland for many years and when I returned to Nova Scotia I brought my two NL ponies back with me …. To me brought up with my dad’s racehorses instilled a deep love for the Standardbred racehorse until I rescued my first NL pony . They are strong, loving and learn very quickly as they are very intelligent. At present i an making a 4’ x4’ sign for the Newfoundland Heritage Pony Pasture in NL . This is my way of staying involved with passion ….The Newfoundlanders who love their ponies .

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