Listed as critically endangered, Newfoundland’s only heritage animal is being brought back from the brink, one foal at a time. It’s people like Liz Chafe who are trying to increase their numbers by telling people about the importance of the breed and capturing the rare bloodlines.
Liz runs a farm in Cappahayden, on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland – with the only Newfoundland ponies in the area. She welcomes visitors who want to learn more about them. She says the population of Newfoundland ponies is like that of the Newfoundland people. It’s an older population, and the number of ponies passing on is growing at a faster rate than new births. If circumstances cannot be changed for the better, it simply will not be possible to sustain the breed, and that is a serious concern.
More people need to get involved to join the effort to save the breed. In addition to connecting people interested in purchasing ponies with breeders with ponies for sale, she also helps people find new homes for ponies when they cannot care for them any longer.
Liz advocates for owners and breeders to keep their registration papers up-to-date with the Newfoundland Pony Society. Ponies move hands throughout their lifetime and it’s important to keep track of the go. Recently the sad case came to light of the 30-plus-year old pony named ‘Mudder’, who was found in muddy stall in Quebec still giving rides to children when she hardly had the energy to hold herself up. DNA tests identified her as a registered Newfoundland Pony. Mudder was rescued and lived her remaining days with a loving family.
“Sharing is caring. If we had known where this pony was, she never would have been in this situation to begin with,” said Liz Chafe. “Let others know where you’re selling your ponies so we can keep them on our radar.”