HomeHorseThe Exmoor Pony: The Most Ancient Pony Breed of British Isles

The Exmoor Pony: The Most Ancient Pony Breed of British Isles

Exmoor pony is the native horse breed of England that originated in the Exmoor areas of South-West Britain. The horse is still found in semi-feral areas of moorland and many remorse areas of the British Isles. The pony is one of the endangered pony breeds. The pony developed in the harsh environment of moorland and can survive with little food and care. The pony is excellent in conformation, suitable for many equestrian events, and a helpful horse for kids. 

Essential Information on Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Pony is one of the most endangered pony breeds in the world. The pony originated in the moorland of South-West of British Island and found in many other parts of the world. The pony was about to eradicate after the Second World War. The pony has some excellent qualities that attract many horse lovers.

Exmoor Pony of British Isles

Origin and History of Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor pony is one of the ancient horse breeds of the native British Isles. The horse still found semi-feral in the moorland of South-West British forests. The horse was mentioned in the Doomsday book in 1086 AD, and there were 104 broodmares listed there. The people used the ponies for agricultural works, transportation of goods, pulling carts, and plowing.

Moorland Ponies

In 1700 AD, local farmers were allowed to graze their horses in the forest, and still, few Exmoor ponies are found wild in the forests. After WW II, the number of ponies declined to a critical level. A new studbook for ponies started in 1952, and the number of horses started to increase. Currently, the Livestock Conservancy declared the breed as threatened, and less than 5000 ponies have existed. In the United States, less than 1000 foals are registered annually. The Rare Breed Survival of the United Kingdom declared the breed as ‘Endangered’ and less than 500 horses in Great Britain.

Physical Characteristics

The Exmoor ponies are powerfully built horses with endurance and hardiness. The horse’s head is more prominent in proportion to its body; the ears are small, the eyes are unique with extra fleshiness called “toad eye.” The chest of the pony is deep, and the back is broad; the croup is level. The jaws are distinctly different from other pony breeds. The legs of the pony are short, intense, and hooves are hard.

Physical Characteristics of Exmoor 

Most winter pony breeds have a dense inner hair coat and a long outer coat that protects them from extreme cold. The outer coats of Exmoor are oily that prevents the rainwater enters in the undercoat. The main and tail of Exmoors are long, thick, and fluffy. The 

Height and Weight

The Exmoor pony is usually equal in height to ordinary pony breeds. The average height of the horse is 11.1 to 12.3 hands (45 to 51 inches). The recommended height of mares is 12.2 (50 inches) hands, and the stallion is 12.3 hands (51 inches). Some Exmoor becomes 13.2 hands (54 inches) tall. 

Color and Markings of the Pony

Color and Markings

The most common color of Exmoor pony is a dark bay called ‘brown. A pangare (mealy) markings present around the muzzle, eyes, flanks, and underbelly. The breed must have white marking to be registered in the studbook. The pangare markings are primitive for all equine breeds. The other colors of the breed are bay, brown, and dun.

Height and Weight of Exmoor Pony

Societies and Distribution

Exmoor Pony Society was established in 1912 to serve as the guardian of the pony breed. The society is registered as a charity organization and maintains the studbook of this breed. The Exmoor Pony Society issues passport for horses gives training, maintain records, and make publicity of this breed.

Beautiful pony of England

Behavior and Temperament

The Exmoor Pony is an intelligent, alert, and good behaved pony breed. The pony is hardy with excellent endurance. They can survive in a rough climate with minimum care and management. They can be trained quickly and suitable for kids riding and therapeutic horse riding.

Behavior of Exmoor

Health and Lifespan

The Exmoor Pony is generally healthy and lives up to 40 years. They require less care and food than ordinary horse breed. They can adapt themselves to a harsh climate in winter. 

Wild Moorland Pony

Unique Characteristics

The Exmoors is one of the oldest and purest pony breeds of the British Isles.

  • They originated thousands of years ago.
  • They were noted in the Doomes day Book in 1086 AD.
  • They are found semi-feral in the Moorland of South-West British.
  • The most common color of the pony is brown with mealy marking on the face, eyes, muzzle, flank, and underbelly.
  • They can live up to 40 years.

Uses of Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor Pony is a rare and versatile pony breed. The uses of this breed are:

  • Previously the pony was used in agricultural work for plowing, pulling carts, carriage, and transportation.
  • Pony was also used as pit ponies.
  • In domestic cases, the pony is used for showing, driving, agility, and long-distance riding.
  • In 2012, the pony won the third prize in the International Agility competition.
  • The pony is also suitable for the conservation of grassland.
  • They are good family ponies.

Concluding Remarks on Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor pony is one of the ancient pony breeds of England. The pony is declared endangered and having less than 2000 ponies. The pony is versatile, agile, hardy, and with excellent endurance. In my article, I have tried to discuss and accumulate all information on this breed briefly. 

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