Dulmen ponies in the Merfelder Bruch
|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
The Dülmen is the only native pony breed in Germany, now that the Senner pony of the Teutoburg Forest is extinct. They make good children's ponies and adapt well to domesticated life. They are also good for driving in harness, and are also used to work the land.
The ponies stand usually stand 12 to 13 hands (48 to 52 inches, 122 to 132 cm), and look quite primitive. Some have the usual dun coloring, while others are bay, black, or chestnut, indicating infusion of outside blood. The ponies have steeply sloping hindquarters and a short neck.
The Dülmen was found near the town of Dülmen, in the Merfelder Bruch area where ponies have been documented since the early 14th century. It is believed that the Dülmen developed for primitive types, as it still has some primitive characteristics.
The ponies lived in wild herds across Westphalia until the 19th century, when land was divided and separated and the ponies began to lose their habitat. There is only one wild herd left today, owned by the Duke of Croy, that roams 860 acres (3.5 km²) of the Meerfelder Bruch. The Dukes of Croy first helped the herd in the mid-1800s.
The ponies are left to find food and shelter, must cope with illness and death. Therefore, only the strongest in the herd survive, promoting the toughness of the breed, and making them resistant to disease. Once a year, on the last Saturday of May, the ponies are rounded off and the colts separated. The colts are sold at a public auction, and the mares are returned with only one or two stallions.
- ↑ Stadt Dülmen. The Wild Horses of the Merfeld Marsh. Retrieved 2.8.09 from http://www.duelmen.de/en/wild_horses/index.htm?seite=/en/wild_horses/haupt.htm
- ↑ Breeds of livestock, Oklahoma State University. (1998) Dülmen. Retrieved 25.7.09 from http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/