CHANGE ISLANDS — The Newfoundland Pony has a friend on Change Islands.

The Change Islands Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary was founded in 2005 to save the critically endangered Newfoundland Pony. Our province’s first heritage animal, the Newfoundland Pony evolved over 400 years to meet the demands of outport life and they were essential to our ancestors’ survival.

Descended from early settlers’ hardy ponies, the Newfoundland pony has had a key role in our ancestors’ survival for generations, hauling supplies like kelp and wood as well as providing transportation. Over centuries it adapted to the harsh demands of outport life to evolve into a unique breed.

The ponies have thick manes, heavy winter coats and are sure-footed with close-set legs to walk on narrow paths. They are hard workers with excellent temperaments.


Our ponies are in serious danger of extinction. With the advent of mechanization, the Newfoundland pony lost its role in society.

The government sponsored gelding programs, many ponies shipped away for slaughter and anti-roaming laws made it difficult to keep ponies. As a consequence the pony numbers in the province plummeted from 13,000 in the 1960’s to fewer than 400 today.

“Adopting to climate and outport life, the Newfoundland pony is rugged and sure footed like a true Newfoundlander”(Heather Bryant)


Donations play a key role keeping our not-for-profit refuge running. All donations go directly to everyday care of the ponies such as feed and veterinary bills but not to administration.

You can leave a donation in our donation box at the barn or send a cheque made out to the address below. We also accept in-kind donations of equine feed and supplies. Check out the many ways you can help our Newfoundland Ponies.


You can meet our ponies on a self guided walking tour of the sanctuary. We also host pony rides for children in the summer and pony sleigh rides in the winter. We are a great destination for school outings, birthday parties, weddings and special occasions. Or let’s customize an event just for you!

Emily Chetkowski Villiponi Farm

NL Pony Sanctuary, NH

As stewards of this rare breed, we are often asked “why” we chose to take on the challenges that conserving a rare breed brings with it.

Amongst rare breeds, the Newfoundland pony is even rarer. The Newfoundland Pony is an unspoiled landrace, left as nature designed it, whose only goal was survival.  

As such it is a square peg amongst man-honed modern breeds. It is perfection, as nature intended, yet the battle to keep it that way is never-ending.  

In the grand scheme of things, our tireless efforts, collectively, are global, hopeful of making positive change in this world for earth, animal, and human alike.

Victoria Tollma,  Equus Survival

The Newfoundland Pony is a landrace shaped by 400 years of natural environment and human agricultural usage. The breed was developed from stock originating on and traceable to the island of Newfoundland, comprised primarily of several British Mountain and Moorland pony breeds brought to Newfoundland during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Averaging 13.1 hands, the Newfoundland Pony is a strong, active and versatile pony, winter hardy and thrifty with smooth gaits and a very kind & willing temperament.  The Newfoundland is the only surviving native purebred pony breed on the North American continent and is currently listed as Critical by the Equus Survival Trust, an equine conservation organization.  

The pony is further protected under Newfoundland government Heritage Animal legislation which requires the ponies be tracked and protected in their pure form by the Newfoundland Pony Society.


PO Box 133,Change Islands, Newfoundland

Canada   A0G 1R0

Phone:   709-621-6381

   Cell:     709-884-6953

Email: [email protected]