Whos's who on the Moor
The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association
Supports and Promotes all the hill ponies on the moor
There are approximately 1500 hill ponies living on the Moor, all owned by farmers with Commoner’s rights. This amounts to less than 10% of the numbers that lived on the Moors 50 years ago. The reason that the numbers have declined is because the Commoners have not received enough income from the sale of hill ponies to cover the costs of maintaining the herds, and they have therefore either given up or vastly reduced their numbers.The gene pool that resides within these hill ponies is a treasure, which must never be lost, as we could never replicate what has emerged from thousands of years of adaptation to life on Dartmoor in all her moods. The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association has worked hard on behalf of the Commoners to raise the quality of the hill ponies through stallion inspections, finding solutions to the welfare management of hill ponies makinge it viable to maintain the herds. The Association is a committee of Hill Pony keepers which raises awareness of the value of keeping the inherant knowledge of hill pony keeping from becoming a skill of the past, whilst working on a mangement plan to secure the future of the hill ponies for the benefit of Dartmoor and the community.
Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony
Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony are dedicated to supporting all the hill ponies on Dartmoor. Other organisations are more discriminating and believe that a Dartmoor pony should fit a breed standard of certain colours and shapes, decided by themselves in 1925.I am afraid we don’t agree but think that all the ponies have a value and are good enough even with a bit of white here of there, and shape or size are not important. These are the ponies that still thrive on Dartmoor and are the inheritors of the harsh landscape that has shaped their genes with their inherent knowledge of surviving by crushing the gorse with their feet so it can be eaten and knowing how to find water when the biting cold winds turn thier usual supplies to ice. Historically you could tell where you were on the moor by the herd of ponies you could see so there has always been a variety of ponies on Dartmoor.
The hill ponies of Dartmoor are the gene pool that is still dipped into by “pure bred” pony breeders when they need to refresh their bloodlines so this is a treasure that must never be lost and which we strive to protect. The hill ponies are the true survivors on Dartmoor and remain an invaluable source of resilient ponies “true children’s friends,” and the basis of many future competition animals and the perfect tool for looking after Dartmoor.
We are Dedicated to Giving Hill Ponies on Dartmoor a Future
“Far from being a load of rubbish being bred on Dartmoor and going cheap in the Sales, the Hill Ponies of Dartmoor have huge strengths that make them suitable for all kinds of jobs apart from their main one of being the tough Custodians of the Moor. We hope that this information will help to inspire a better understanding of the Dartmoor Hill Pony and encourage people to take the time and effort needed to discover these fantastic ponies,” .
The Dartmoor Pony Society
The Guardians of the Breed. These ponies are bred to a standard introduced in 1925, and have pedigrees registered in the Dartmoor Pony Society Studbook, which is recognised worldwide. Their value in the Show ring is undisputed, please refer to the Dartmoor Pony Society website for details.
There are very few of these beautiful ponies living on the Moor, as with their neat little heads, elegant necks, fine bone and shining coats they are not suited to the harsh conditions and are far to valuable.
There is however the New Take scheme, by which approved Hill Ponies can be used for breeding to enlarge the depleted gene pool of the Registered Dartmoor, and which can be included in the Dartmoor Society stud book. New blood from the Hill Pony is invaluable as a source of hybrid vigour.
Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust
Set up to recognise the Dartmoor Type Pony, having appointed a panel of judges to choose mares from the ponies on the Moor that most conform to the standards laid down in the Registered Dartmoor Pony breed standard, in 1925 and promote them and their offspring adding value promoting these wonderful ponies.
Dartmoor Pony Training centre
To take on a number of ponies every year to train and re-home preferably doing ‘high profile’ jobs e.g. working with special needs people etc. We hope that these ponies will act as ambassadors for the breed.
To help promote Dartmoor Hill ponies in any way possible.
To offer advice and marketing and training support to people wanting to sell their ponies privately (we hope to be able to have an online sales list where we can help advertise any Dartmoor Hill ponies for sale.)
and lots more.