The Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor pony is one of Britain's oldest breed of native pony, thought to be little different from the original wild ponies that colonised Britain many thousands of years ago.
These much-loved, iconic ponies are classed as “endangered" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and are a must-see on any visit to Exmoor – but remember to follow the Exmoor Pony Code.
Historically, the Exmoor pony was used by hill farmers to undertake all kinds of work, from being ridden for shepherding to being used in harness for ploughing, harrowing, taking feed to stock and the farmer's family to market and church. Today, the ponies participate across the equestrian disciplines, are popular family ponies and play an important role in many conservation and re-wilding projects.
After the Second World War, the number of ponies dramatically reduced with only around 50 being recorded across the whole of Exmoor. Today, free-living herds of Exmoor ponies owned by moorland farmers can be seen roaming on designated commons across Exmoor National Park and make up about 17.5% of the worldwide population.
The Exmoor Pony Society – Guardians of the Breed
The Exmoor Pony Society, a registered charity since 1967, was established in 1921 and is the formal guardian of the Exmoor Pony breed. Together with its members and breeders it has nurtured the breed for almost a century, taking it from near extinction at the end of WW2 to a viable breed. It maintains the Exmoor Pony stud book in accordance with DEFRA legislation, and acts as an approved Passport Issuing Organisation for the ponies.
The Society has worked with the Exmoor National Park Authority and the Rare Breed Survival Trust for many years to ensure that the Exmoor pony, which remains on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s watchlist in Category 2, survives both in its natural habitat and in-ground.
Each year the society promotes this iconic breed to the general public through events and attendance at shows around the and is one of the lead organisers of the Exmoor Pony Festival held in August.
Learn more about the breed and forthcoming events by visiting the Exmoor Pony Society website at www.exmoorponysociety.org.uk.
You can also follow the ponies and find out where you can see an Exmoor both on and off the moor on the society’s Facebook page or pick up a leaflet from one of the Exmoor Tourist Information Centres.
The Exmoor Pony Centre
The Exmoor Pony Centre based in Ashwick, Dulverton is owned by the Moorland Mousie Trust, a charity that works to promote and protect the Exmoor pony, and complements the positive work of the Exmoor Pony Society.
The centre provides the chance to get close to an Exmoor pony with unique riding experiences. Find out more here.