What horses were used in mines?

What horses were used in mines?

Ponies are frequently seen grazing on the farms near coal mines. Most of these rugged little ponies are descendants of pit ponies which were used to haul coal from mines as early as the 1600s.

What breed are pit ponies?

Although often referred to as ‘pit ponies’ by the general public, most of the animals used in Welsh collieries were actually horses.

Are there still pit ponies?

The last surviving pony was Tony who died in 2011 aged 40 at the Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter. 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.

What happened to the pit ponies?

The use of pit ponies went into steady decline after 1913, when the number registered reached a peak of 70,000. The practice of stabling ponies deep in the mines finally came to an end in 1994, when a pony called Flax was brought to the surface at Ellington Colliery in Northumberland for the last time.

What did pit ponies do in the mines?

The pit ponies’ main duties were pulling heavy carts of coal, so they had to be strong and sure-footed to avoid stumbling on the underground paths. On average, they worked an eight-hour shift daily, hauling around 30 tons of coal to the underground railway.

What is pit pony?

Definition of pit pony chiefly British. : a pony used for packing or haulage in a mine.

Did pit ponies go blind?

Many people, mistakenly believed that pit ponies eventually went blind underground but in fact the use of blind ponies was expressly forbidden by law. Unfortunately some ponies did go blind but it was from old age or they injured their eyes at work before the introduction of effective leather headgear with eye.

Who looked after pit ponies?

When the pit ponies were due to retire, the RSPCA was instrumental in finding them a home to live out the rest of their life. After Ellington closed in 1994, there were only four pit ponies still working there.

When did the last pit pony retire?

The last pit ponies retired in 1994 bringing to an end a partnership between man and beast which had stretched back three centuries.

How many ponies lived at the Big Pit?

In the 1870s, there were an estimated 200,000 pit ponies in Great Britain. Life for these animals was very hard, many working up to 16 hours a day, often without food or water.

What did pit ponies do?

What is a “pit horse”?

Pit horses were used in the Australian coal industry well into the twentieth century.

What kind of horses were used in coal mines?

Because the coal seams in New South Wales mines tend to be thicker than those in Britain and Europe, the tunnels are higher, and large breeds of horses were used in our mines instead of the small, but hardy pit ponies of the British and European mines. The picture on the right shows Sam, one of the pit horses at Stockrington No. 2 Colliery.

What was the last mine to use pit ponies?

History. The last pony mine in the United States, located near Centerville, Iowa, closed in 1971. The last pit ponies used in Australia, Wharrier and Mr Ed of the Collinsville Coal’s No 2 Mine in Queensland, were finally retired in 1990 after many years’ service.

When did the first pit horse derbies take place?

It was taken on 31 October 1978 by Brian R. Andrews who has kindly given us permission to publish his photos. Pit horse derbies were held in coalfields towns to raise money for worthy causes such as local hospitals, For example, the Cessnock Eagle advertised the 1944 event –