Unique characteristics of the Dartmoor Hill Pony
There should always be a general air of vitality about a Hill Pony, with a good sense of stamina and robustness. There should be good pony characteristics of an unmistakeable appearance of hardiness and strength. They should be suitable to winter out on the commons, without a significant loss of condition.
Their action should be one of free movement covering the ground, with a low easy riding action, and they should be very nimble and sure footed.
Physically, they should have a well set pony’s head. It is not typical or desirable that the head should be over refined. It is necessary to have strong, sloping shoulders, with rounded quarters, and a good depth of body. The mane and tail should be full, and thick enough to cope with the worst of the weather. The coat changes with the seasons, with a double coat in winter, with guard hairs. This means that the rain is easily shed, and the ponies skin is kept dry in the worst of weathers. In the summer, the coat is short, with a silky sheen.
Conformity of appearance within the breed has never been of much importance, which does make it difficult to identify Dartmoor Hill Ponies that have been sold off the Moor.
All of the different bloodlines that have been introduced to meet the requirements of the time have meant that the use of the Hill Ponies has changed from century to century. These uses have varied from pit pony to polo pony, from driving pony to children’s pony. The common characteristics have remained the same, i.e. hardiness and good temperament.