Thought, fact and quote for the day 13/4/12
Seven Acre Horse Sanctuary - Giving horses/ponies a second chance..
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Thought, fact and quote for the day 13/4/12

Thought 4the day: Quirks what do we think or call a quirk? Could it be as you ride along they throw their head up and down occassionally, or could it be that when you pick up a hind foot they literally pull you about for a few mins. or could it be that when you do the girth up they fidget, or could it be that when you put the bridle on they throw their head about, or could it be that when your in teh field they either buzz you or are hard to catch. If you think about it not all of these are quirks and all are workable with. We all do have some kind of quirk is there such thing as a perfect horse? I suppose out there maybe one or two might be perfect but they are far and few between...
 
Quote 4the day: If you want stability, love, trust, respect and much much more go and see your four legged friend..
 
Fact4 the day: A pit pony was a type of pony commonly used underground in coal mines from the mid 18th until the mid 20th century.

History

Ponies began to be used underground, often replacing child or female labour, as distances from pit head to coal face became greater. The first known recorded use in Britain was in the Durham coalfield in 1750; however, the use of ponies was never common in t...he United States, though ponies were used in Appalachian coal fields in the mid 20th century. The last pony mine in the United States closed in 1971.

At the peak in 1913, there were 70,000 ponies underground in Britain. In later years, mechanical haulage was quickly introduced on the main underground roads replacing the pony hauls and ponies tended to be confined to the shorter runs from coal face to main road (known in North East England as "putting") which were more difficult to mechanise. As of 1984, 55 ponies were still at use with the National Coal Board in Britain, chiefly at the modern pit in Ellington, Northumberland. Probably the last colliery horse to work underground in a British coal mine, 'Robbie', was retired from Pant y Gasseg, near Pontypool, in May 1999.

Breed and conformation

Larger horses, such as varieties of Cleveland Bay, could be used on higher underground roadways, but on many duties small ponies no more than 12 hands high were needed. Shetlands were a breed commonly used because of their small size. In the Interwar period, ponies were imported into Britain from the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the United States. Geldings and stallions only were used. Donkeys were also used in the late 19th century. The ponies were low set, heavy bodied and heavy limbed with plenty of bone and substance, low-headed and sure-footed. Under the British Coal Mines Act of 1911, ponies had to be four years old before going underground; they could work until their twenties.

Work

In shaft mines, ponies were normally stabled underground and fed on a diet with a high proportion of chopped hay and maize, coming to the surface only during the colliery’s annual holiday. In slope and drift mines, the stables were usually on the surface near the mine entrance.

Typically, they would work an eight-hour shift each day, during which they might haul 30 tons of coal in tubs on the underground narrow gauge railway. One 1911 writer estimated that the average working life of coal mining mules was only 3 1/2 years, where 20-year working lives were common on the surface. Recollections differ on how well the ponies were cared for in earlier years, but it should be remembered that they represented a capital asset to the mine, and that the best work could be obtained from animals that were in good condition.
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