Friday, November 1, 2013

Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Ponies, one of the UK's oldest pony breeds, dates back over a thousand years ago. Throughout those centuries, the ponies have adapted to the harsh climate of the moors–huge plains of heather and rough grasses. They lived there on their own without human interaction or interference. That is, until the king decided to use the land for industrial purposes, selling all of the ponies in 1818.
The Acland-type Exmoor Pony

 Warden Sir Thomas Acland bought thirty of them, making his own little herd. Others, too, purchased ponies the start their own herds. In 1921, the Exmoor Pony Society was formed and the horses numbers began to thrive. However, during World War II, the number of Exmoors took and steep plunged. Many were used as food by British soldiers and citizens. By 1948, only fifty Exmoors remained.

Withypool-type Exmoor Pony credit
 Two herds were used to reestablish the breed: the Acland herd, founded by Sir Thomas Acland, and the Withypool herd. Both were slightly different, seeing as they had different bloodlines. Even today, you can distinguish taller, darker ones with straight profiles, like the Withypool ones, and short, light ones, like the Acland type.

Breed Description and Uses
 Standing 11.3 to 12.3 hands high, Exmoors are small ponies with wide-set eyes, small ears, and a compact body with  a big barrel and powerful haunches. They have short legs and hard hooves. Since they have little knee action, their gaits are easy to sit. Most commonly, they are a brownish bay with a mealy color around their eyes and on their muzzle, though other colors, like bay and dun, are sometimes seen.

 Due to their small size, Exmoors make excellent children's mounts.

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