Our Dartmoor ponies are synonymous with the moorland – being the logo of the Dartmoor National park and often in the press regarding the ‘plight’ of the said Dartmoor pony – a hardy creature about 12hh with long flowing mane and tail, mostly brown, black or grey (white to the layman!) – there is also the Dartmoor ‘Hill’ pony which can be a muddle of breeds from shetland to spotty and everything in between, but equally as hardy. Both types make good riding ponies for children whether in the show ring or just as a hack.
These ponies live out on the commons of Dartmoor all year, the mares running in herds with their stallion and producing foals in the spring from March – June. In late September the farmers who own the ponies with grazing rights on the commons round up the ponies to wean the foals and take stock of the welfare of the mares and stallions, sometimes a ‘gelded’ male will be turned out on the common also.
The ponies have been a traditionally farmed animal on Dartmoor and some herds of ponies go back generations with farmers being able to remember past mares and stallions in their groups.
Less ponies run on Dartmoor now as there is not a good market for selling the little ponies, but they are lovely to see running free and wild on the common.