For many people, seeing Exmoor Ponies on the open moors is one of the highlights of a trip to Exmoor. The Exmoor is one of a number of native British ponies. They are a common sight on the moorlands of the National Park where a number of managed herds graze the rough pasture.It it is only wild in the sense that the herds roam freely on the moor, for all the ponies belong to someone. A few years ago people were afraid that the pony might become extinct so the National Park Authority bought young stock and now owns two herds. There are currently eleven other privately owned herds that run on the different commons within the Exmoor National Park. As many of the commons have common boundaries, it is essential that those visiting the moor remember to close the gates that link the commons.
The Exmoor pony always breeds true to its type. Its colouring ranges from dun (a smokey-brown) to bay (red-brown) or brown (dark brown). Underparts and the area around the eyes and nose are a mealy buff colour while the mane, tail and points are dark brown or black. The summer coat is fine and glossy but in winter the ponies grow a thick, two-layered protective coat. Average height is about 12 hands. The true Exmoor is a sturdy pony, well-proportioned and sure footed. It has a large, well-shaped head with 'toad' eyes, large and dark, with fleshy ridges above and below channel rain away from the eyes.
Foals are born in the spring and early summer and spend the summer running with their dams and building up a store of fat to take them through the hard winter ahead. In the autumn the herds are driven down to the farms; foals are weaned and all the ponies are inspected and branded and micro-chipped before being returned to the moor for the winter.
Please be aware of ponies when driving on Exmoor, particularly on areas of open moorland and keep your speed down . There have sadly been a number of recent pony fatalities due to collisions with cars.
This great film highlights not only how special our ponies are, but how we can all do our bit to keep them safe.
- Exmoor's Wildlife
- Exmoor Wildwatch
- The Exmoor Landscape
- Towns and Villages
- Trees and Woodland
- Exmoor's Coast
- Exmoor's Rivers & Streams
- Porlock Marsh Vision