Newfoundland pony trots onto 2009 postage stamps
What a nice surprise when last week I dropped by our Post Office in Clarke’s Beach to buy some new postage stamps to see our beloved Newfoundland Pony commemorated along with the distinctive Canadian horse known as “the iron horse.”
If early indications mean anything I understand the Clarke’s Beach Post Office had them sold out by early June. The limited edition — just four million were printed nationwide and are sold in booklets of 10 — will be of special interest to philanthropists in the province for certain.
My wife and I have a small collection of special-edition stamps and we are delighted to have that one to add to our list.
Canada Post issued what they call their newest “domestic equine stamps “on May 15 when I was out of the province. The unveiling took place at a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s with federal and provincial politicians and members of the Newfoundland Pony Society on hand.
The first introduction to the Newfoundland Pony took place when a friend and I visited with artist Cliff George at his home in Trinity Bay many years ago. When I saw it trotting up the lane I thought it was a freak of nature. Obviously a corner boy such as me, born and raised in St. John’s, had never seen a pony like that before.
It must have been a particularly proud day for George and his family, and people like them around Newfoundland who did so much to preserve the breed over so many years preventing it from becoming extinct.
A commemorative stamp released in Newfoundland does not come along too often in one’s lifetime, and when it does it’s a time for celebration and a bonus for collectors like my brother Ralph.
Obviously being a Newfoundlander, I am partial to the commemoration of our beloved Newfoundland pony. What else would be expected from a Conception Bay scribbler other than that?
Our special pony historically was considered the all-purpose equine. It was brought over here
It is interesting to note the settlers at the time carried over seven breeds of ponies that merged into a common breed of which one line was later developed and recognized as the Newfoundland pony.
by English settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is interesting to note the settlers at the time carried over seven breeds of ponies that merged into a common breed of which one line was later developed and recognized as the Newfoundland pony.
The new stamps are complementary. One (the iron horse) features a Canadian horse peering from the left, overlooking a goldcoloured silhouette of a horsedrawn carriage and a sepia-coloured landscape representing its origin, Quebec’s colourful autumn meadows.
The other (our pony) in the pair features the Newfoundland trotting from the right onto a snowcovered Newfoundland landscape showing an emerging lighthouse in the background as well as a gold-coloured silhouette of a pony ploughing the land. When placed side by side, the carriage and the plough meet on the new stamps, blending into one image.
The fairly subtle background suggests the origins of these two fine creatures, and the two different seasons reminds us that these horses and ponies were relied on to work year round. About the two
The Newfoundland pony is historically known for its help to early settlers — most from England — in conquering our rugged North Atlantic landscape.
Its partner sharing the newly issued 54-cent stamp is affectionately known as the little iron horse, a strong, sturdy animal with royal lineage and a long presence in Canada. Both are valued for their strength, endurance and intelligence as well as their agreeable/social disposition.
The new stamps measure 39.75 mm x 32.25 mm (horizontal) with simulated perforations. The selfadhesive stamps were printed using lithography in five colours on Tullis Russell paper. The stamps are general tagged on three sides.
On the commemorative day, May 15, 2009, it was documented that the official first day cover of the Canadian horse will be cancelled in Cape-Rouge QC. Our Newfoundland Pony stamp was to be cancelled in Change Islands.
The Newfoundland Pony Society, a group of concerned pony owners, was created in 1979. They believe the pony is a living part of this province’s cultural history. One of its goals other than preserving the breed for the sake of future generations is the continuing development and maintenance of the official Newfoundland pony registry.
In 1997 the Newfoundland Pony became the province’s first and only designated heritage animal under the Heritage Animal Act. Fewer than 400 Newfoundland Ponies are living in North America, less than 250 of breeding age. Regretfully it is listed as a critically endangered species by Rare Breeds. For more information visit The Newfoundland Pony website.
It is wonderful to know that a photo history of the Pony is currently being compiled through a collaborative effort between the Newfoundland Pony Society, Harry Hutchings, president; Memorial University and the provincial department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.
Additional information about Canadian stamps in general, as well as photos of the new stamps mentioned above, can be found in the News section of Canada Post’s website www.canadapost.ca
Bill Westcott writes from Clarke’s Beach.