Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Search for Dallas ponies as horsewomen trace ‘born free’ fold

Some of the Dallas ponies.
Some of the Dallas ponies.

Horse enthusiasts have set up a social media group to trace a renowned breed of horse which was born free in Moray.

Leading the group is Shela-Ann Ryan, 57, from Fort William who is raising the profile of the Highland-type ponies from Dallas.

There are around a dozen ponies that the women can not account for.

The horses, that were born into a feral group of horses – are in many colours, but the most prized is the yellow dun being sold online for upwards of £2,600.

The women’s group Dallas Ponies Forever tells the story of each of the horses, that they know about, and tries to trace those that have been sold away from the area.

The fold were all once rescued and helped by World Horse Welfare.

After being feral and inbred, the horses were part of a national story when the charity stepped in 2011, to help manage the fold, and give them passports.

Where are the 60 horse?

Of the horses in the Moray area, there were around 50 stallions, when there should only have been one in any breeding system.

There was a band of bachelor stallions vying for mares and there was injury due to fighting in the 11 social herds.

Ms Ryan, a veterinary receptionist, visits the horses regularly on farmland near Dallas after she bought a foal from the farmer, and a few years later acquired the foal’s sister.

She said: “Recently, we have been concerned that there are only 38 of the ponies left in Dallas. We have seen adverts for similar types of horses for sale, but being sold as much younger ponies.

“We would like information on dozen or so ponies that used to roam free.

“There was a roundup in 2011, and at least 30 ponies were sold, many of which have gone on to be used as really useful ponies, fantastic jumpers and some great family ponies.”

Mr Handsome was returned to his home in Moray.

She continued: “But people may be buying ponies described as Highland yellow dun ponies, and may get more than they bargained for. It takes a lot of experience to bring them under control.”

Ms Ryan describes one stallion, named Mr Handsome, who was removed with permission from the fold with 17 others, and taken to be broken in the Borders.

He constantly ran away, and jumped fences – so distressed at having been born free and now living in captivity.

So painful was the process for the horse that after two years he was brought back to be with the others for the remainder of his life.

“These aged horses need to remain together now – it is not fair to separate them,” Ms Ryan said.

Horses don’t have the correct paperwork

Ms Ryan is being helped in her endeavours by a retired vet who lives in the Scottish Borders.

She said: “The ponies from Dallas are at least 11 years old – because all of the horses since 2011, have not been able to breed.

“One horse seller we phoned said the ponies had not been ridden in a long time. But claimed they had been ridden before, and just needed to be restarted. She was unable to tell us where the pony was from or how old it was.”

Ms Ryan said: “These horses from Dallas were born free and have lived their whole lives being feral. They are not easily tamed, and especially not the older ones.

“With expert handling some have gone on to make excellent ponies, but it did not happen overnight.

Fears for anyone who might buy them

“Our fear is that something might happen to anyone who buys one of the Dallas ponies and doesn’t know.

“These are beautiful horses that form part of Scotland’s social history. They should be recorded for prosperity.

“We know that some have died  – but it would be good to know where the rest are.”

The women want anyone with information on the ponies to contact them via the Dallas Ponies Forever Facebook page.

Numerous attempts were made to contact the farmers whose land the horses live on, but we were unable to speak to him.


Already a subscriber? Sign in





Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google



Or login with

Forgotten your password? Reset it