Where is Exmoor?
Exmoor is situated in the south west of Britain. It is an area of high moorland, with enclosed farms. This provides a varied diet of moor grasses, rushes, heather and gorse.
The Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor pony has inhabited the Exmoor moorland since ancient times and is the oldest British pony. The moor pony is the foundation stock of this unique breed from which outside breeders replenish stock.
Pure bred Exmoor ponies still find their own living “in the wild” all year round. In the Autumn the mares and foals are gathered and driven down to the farms then the pure-bred “suckers” as they are called, are individually examined by the Society`s Inspectors.
The Exmoor National Park Authority have established two herds on Exmoor to ensure that the Exmoor pony remains in its natural environment for the visitor to enjoy.
Exmoors are a rare breed with less than 1000 worldwide. Of these there are 300 breeding mares producing 130 foals annually. 150 of the mares are still “free living” on Exmoor, the remainder throughout Britain. Exmoors are “endangered” on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust list and few bloodlines remain therefore little genetic diversity.
The “free living” Exmoor ponies are wild in the sense that they have to live on the moor throughout the year, find their own food, care for their young and wander free over moorland.
The Exmoor pony is quite literally the “child of the moor”, the food, climate and living conditions producing the pony as he is today.
Height of the Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor pony stands up to 12.3 hh. Colour of the Exmoor Pony The Exmoor pony is brown, bay or dun with black points and easily distinguishable from its mealy muzzle.
Characteristics of the Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor Pony has a wide forehead with large toad eyes,thick neck deep chest, well laid back shoulders, broad back with short legs. Of definite pony appearance, the Exmoor is hard and strong with a symmetrical outline and alert presence. Known to withstand harsh climates has a weatherproof coat and a snow chute on the tail. These primitive features suggest very little change since the Old Stone Age. Other characteristics include good stamina with straight and smooth action. Every Exmoor is branded with its individual and herd numbers and a 4-point star.
Temperament of the Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor pony is alert, intelligent and kind.
Uses of the Exmoor Pony
The Exmoor pony is an ideal childrens pony, and are also strong enough to carry a smaller adult. They are used in harness and, when crossed with Thoroughbreds. make excellent hunters.
Other Interesting Facts
The purebred Exmoor Pony remain relatively wild, although they are herded and brought in for inspection and branding once a year. Attempts to breed the Exmoor outside of its natural state have met with little success, causing breeders to constantly return to the wild herds for feral blood. Two types of Exmoor exist: the Acland type (a family in which a larged portion of the Exmoor herd was left in the 1800s) and the Withypool type, a slightly larger, darker pony with a straighter profile.
The Exmoor Pony is a rare, unique, survivor. For many centuries it existed on the moor with little human interference, except for the annual “harvest” of young animals. In the last 200 years, changes, such as enclosure of much of the moor, intensification of agriculture, “improvement” of our native ponies by cross-breeding, and the spread of motor transport, led to a decline.
The Exmoor Pony Society
In 1921 the Exmoor Pony Society was set up, largely by local breeders and enthusiasts, to ensure the continuation of the true, pure-bred Exmoor Pony and to overcome its many threats.
Seeing Exmoor Ponies
Exmoor Ponies are free living in the following locations on Exmoor:
4. Codsend Moor
5. Withypool Common
6. Porlock Common
7. Warren Farm
Exmoor Ponies SIGG Traveler 1.0L Water Bottle