The Exmoor pony is the oldest native pony breed in Britain and yet is currently listed as an endangered rare breed. Approximately 3,500 of these ponies survive worldwide, of which around 350 still live free on Exmoor.
The Moorland Mousie Trust, based at the Exmoor Pony Centre, works to promote and conserve the rare-breed Exmoor pony.
The Exmoor Pony Centre is open to visitors from 10 am until 4pm Sundays through to Fridays (closed on Saturdays) between the Easter holidays and autumn half-term, with restricted opening times for the winter months. Entrance to the Centre is free and visitors are encouraged to come and meet the ponies and learn more about them.
If you wish to ride an Exmoor pony, the Centre offers two options:
A 3 hour session, including grooming and tacking up, for experienced riders aged 11+ and competent to canter in open spaces.
A 1 hour session that takes place in the indoor arena for those with less experience. Riders should be aged 4+.
Please note that there is a weight limit of 12 stone/76 kg for riding the Exmoor ponies.
Visitors to the Centre can meet the ponies and learn about their history and their life on the moor. Refreshments and toilet facilities are available and we have a pony-themed shop on site.
We can also cater for group visits, birthday parties and corporate days – please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Regular events are held at the Exmoor Pony Centre throughout the year – more information on these and on the work we do can be found on our website.
A registered charity, the Exmoor Pony Society was set up in 1921 by moorland farmers for the registration of pure-bred Exmoor ponies, the conservation of the breed and the preservation of the breed standard with the aim of maintaining this important part of Exmoor's heritage.
Almost a century later, despite numbers dropping to just 50 at the end of the Second World War, the Exmoor Pony can still be seen in its natural habitat. The Society holds the official stud book and today there are some 4000 Exmoor ponies although, because of its small genetic pool, the Exmoor Pony is on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s Watchlist in Category 2.
There are currently 500 ponies running in 21 moorland herds on different commons throughout the Exmoor National Park – the rest of the population is located throughout the UK, Europe and North America. Maintaining the genetic pool both on and off the moor is essential to the long-term conservation of the breed and a safeguard should an equine disease strike the moorland ponies. The Society also promotes the ponies to the general public attending events, holding shows and clinics and is a lead organiser of the Exmoor Pony Festival each August.
You can learn more about the breed by visiting our website www.exmoorponysociety.org.uk and you can follow the ponies and find out on where you can see an Exmoor pony both on and off the moor on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheExmoorPonySociety?ref=hl – there might be a pony near you!
For information on the Exmoor Pony Festival please visit https://exmoorponyfestival.wordpress.com