Video: Dartmoor Pony
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
The Dartmoor pony is one of the nine aboriginal and one of the most famous horse breeds in Britain. Unlike its Exmoor pony neighbor, the Dartmoor pony has been influenced by a variety of breeds throughout its centuries in the heathers of the Dartmoor Highlands in Devon in northwest England. Probably, ponies have lived here since the time of the old Germanic tribe Sas. Later, when a trade route between Exeter and Plymouth passed through these places, along which many horses of various breeds passed, some of them influenced the local population. Among these horses were Arabs and Berbers.
The area from which the breed originates is a rocky, barren, moorland named Dartmoor in England. The harsh climate of those parts led to the fact that the ponies acquired uniformity in appearance, especially with regard to their height and constitution. During the Industrial Revolution, Dartmoor ponies were crossed with much smaller Shetland ponies in order to reduce their size. This had a detrimental effect on the breed. The type of riding horse that had developed by this time began to decline. In order to bring him back, new blood began to flow to the Dartmoor ponies, for example, the Welsh mountain pony, polo ponies and hackney.
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One of the earliest recorded references to this breed is in the will of the Saxon Bishop Aelfwold Credit, who died in 1012. During the reign of Henry (1100-1135), when Dartmoor was the royal forest, Dartmoor stallions were crossed with royal mares.
The mining of tin developed in the southwest of England many years ago. Dartmoor ponies were used to mine tin, carrying tin from mines to nearby towns. When the mines closed, most of the ponies were set free. A small number of ponies have survived on several farms.
In the early part of the century, Dartmoor ponies were used by guards at Princeton Prison (Dartmoor) to escort prisoners to work. This continued until the 1960s.
The first Dartmoor studbook was founded in 1899, in which the height limit for ponies was set at 142.2 cm for stallions and 132 cm for mares. Twenty years later, this limit was reduced to the present-day 124 cm. A number of the founding stallions of the breed had hakne blood in their veins. However, the most outstanding stallion of those times was undoubtedly Leath, who was a purebred Arab father and a Dartmoor pony mother. Leat was a handsome pony with a unique body structure. During his very short breeding career, very few of his descendants were recorded, however, most modern Dartmoor ponies trace their name-line origin from this stallion. Another stallion that influenced the breed was the Welsh mountain pony Dinart Spark.
During World War II, demand for Dartmoor ponies declined significantly, and those who survived were far from the best representatives of the breed. Since 1988, steps have been taken to restore purebred Dartmoor ponies. The Dartmoor Pony Society has developed a special breeding program. For this, farmers released mares for free grazing, where they were covered with wild stallions of Dartmoor ponies. These actions were pursued for two purposes: the infusion of new blood into the breed, as well as the opportunity to show tourists Dartmoor ponies in their natural habitat. In addition, farmers who had unregistered purebred Dartmoor ponies were encouraged to register them.
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Ponies have been exported to Australia, Canada, the United States and even the Falkland Islands. Although the breed began to quickly spread to other countries, its numbers are still lower compared to other popular pony breeds.
Due to the decline in the number of mares of reproductive age, the French Dartmoor Pony Association has opened Studbook B, which allows registration of non-purebred ponies with at least 25% of Dartmoor ancestors. Classical Studbook ponies must have over 87.5% of Dartmoor ancestors.
The best of this breed are hardy quality riding ponies with a smooth, low and comfortable ride. His constitution, intelligence and kind character make him the perfect pony for children. Ponies are actively used for hunting, long walks (for adults weighing up to 75 kg), show jumping, dressage and for everyday driving.
Dartmoor, strong and resilient, work in harness. Dartmoor ponies are resistant to cold and wet weather. They skillfully move around mountainous terrain. These horses are suitable for grazing in almost all biotopes, including wetlands and heathlands.
Height at the withers from 116 to 127 cm (generally no more than 125 cm). The color is bay, black, gray, less often - brown and roan. Small white markings are allowed.
The build is stocky, small head with a straight profile, wide forehead and small ears; muscular neck with well developed withers; strong shoulders; wide and deep chest; the back is short; sloping croup with a high-set tail; slender, strong, lean and muscular legs with hard hooves; the mane and tail are unusually thick.
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