Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX
Scotland and the Antarctic

Section 3: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen ... Sir Ernest Shackleton

Ponies and dogs

Shackleton had with him on this occasion some dogs, 12 Siberian ponies and an Arrol-Johnson car - provided by Beardmore.

Over the winter four of the ponies died. Shackleton had not taken a farrier to look after them and to 'far' their feet. They were made to walk daily over volcanic ash to keep their feet trim.

Before the southern party left, the men hauled the sledges to Hut Point - without using skis, dogs or ponies, as these were being kept for the attempt to reach the pole.

The ponies were not a great success. Shackleton thought them a good idea after their success in the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition in the Arctic islands. They required far more attention than dogs, were much heavier and more liable to fall through snow bridges into crevasses. They were also herbivores, and their food had to be carried with them (dogs could eat fresh meat such as seals). If a pony fell into a crevasse it was almost impossible to pull it out.

Pressure on ice and snow

Pony's hoof 16 lbs/square inch
Dog's paw 3.5 lbs/square inch
Human foot 2.25 lbs/square inch
Ski 0.5 lbs/square inch

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Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX