As the UK is currently under a national lockdown and we can’t spend our time visiting Exmoor and scouting out the moor’s famous ponies, we thought we’d bring the ponies to you with some fun facts that you might not know about these fascinating and beautiful horses.
Did you know… The Exmoor Pony is mentioned in the Domesday Book? This is what makes many people believe that they are one of Britain’s original horse species.
Speaking of which… there is evidence to suggest that the Exmoor pony is Britain’s oldest pony.
Did you know… True Exmoor ponies are varying shades of brown – typically they are bay, dun or slightly darker – all brown shades. They also have mealy coloured markings around their eyes and on their muzzle.
Typically, Exmoor ponies are thought to be kind, trustworthy and hard working which is why as a breed, they make excellent first ponies for learning how to ride.
But how do they survive on the moor?
Well, Exmoor ponies are sturdy and very hardy, they are literally built for outdoor living on the unpredictable moorland. Exmoor Ponies have developed an extra fleshiness on their brows, something that is called a “toad eye” and this helps them in windy and rainy conditions. They also have a course coat which is designed to encourage rain to run down rather than soak them.
According to the Guiness Book of Animal Facts, the Exmoor Pony is the largest of all British pony breeds.
Did you know there are around 40 Exmoor ponies living in North America? They were exported there in the 1950s as well as to the Czech Republic (around 14 of the ponies were sent in 2015). Worldwide, there is thought to be less than 1000 Exmoor ponies left making them a rare breed, after the second world war, there were only 50 left!
Every autumn, the ponies on Exmoor are rounded up and any new foals are registered with the Exmoor Pony Society to keep track of how many there are currently. As many of the ponies are wild, this is often the only time they are handled by people, so don’t approach them if you see them! Some of the ponies are privately owned by farmers who work and live on the moor – but all of them are allowed to live as freely as possible, so these aren’t necessarily tame either – only ever approach Exmoor Ponies that are used to humans and are part of a guided activity.
Have you ever spotted an Exmoor pony in its natural habitat? Don’t forget to share your pictures with us on Instagram!
Please note, the UK is currently under nationwide lockdown restrictions, please do not travel to North Devon or Exmoor. Daily exercise is permitted, but please do this in your local area and do not travel to Exmoor or the coast. We will be happy to welcome you back soon!
For the latest information on government guidance and coronavirus restrictions, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus.