Event details are out now for the first ever Exmoor Pony Festival 27 August – 2 September 2012. Taking place at Exmoor National Park, the natural home of the ancient pony, the festival is being established by moorland breeders and dedicated volunteers helped by Heritage Lottery Funding from the Heart of Exmoor scheme.
Activities include Exmoor Pony Photo Safaris with Experience Exmoor, a pleasure ride with the Exmoor Pony Society, a Horse Agility demonstration with world champion Exmoor Pony stallion Hawkwell Versuvius, an afternoon on a traditional moorland farm with Victoria and Chris Eveleigh (the author and illustrator of the Katy’s Ponies Trilogy) and their herd of Exmoor Ponies, and Dr Sue Baker, who appeared on BBC Autumnwatch last year as an Exmoor Pony expert, will give an illustrated talk ‘On the Trail of Exmoor Ponies’ that tells the story of the breed.
Jason Ball, Heart of Exmoor scheme manager, said:
“Exmoor National Park is renowned for the Exmoor Pony herds roaming freely on moorland, and they are very special ponies – a rare and ancient breed.”
“The Exmoor Pony Festival gives you the chance to see the beautiful ponies in their native landscape and meet some of the people who look after the moorland herds.”
“Whether you aim to buy an Exmoor Pony, learn more about them, or you simply feel fascinated by Exmoor Ponies, the festival offers you a great selection of activities, with farm tours, rides, safaris and talks. Find event details online and please call the organisers of each event directly to book your place or ask directions.”
Event locations take you all over Exmoor National Park from high moors to coastal cliffs – places such as West Ilkerton Farm at Barbrook near Lynton, Lynmouth, Hawkridge, Dulverton, Wheddon Cross, and Luccombe near Minehead.
For more details about the Exmoor Pony Festival please call 01398 323841 or visit the “what’s on” page at the festival blog – exmoorponyfestival.wordpress.com (http://exmoorponyfestival.wordpress.com/whats-on).
Notes for Editors
The Exmoor Pony Festival
The festival aims to foster an appreciation of the breed and to attract pony buyers to Exmoor National Park. Exmoor Ponies are excellent for riding, often winning competition prizes, and with a talent for Horse Agility – their high intelligence apparently linked to life in the wild as free-roaming herds.
Exmoor National Park is the home of the Exmoor Pony, an ancient and hardy breed perfectly adapted to the moorland landscape. They are one of our truly native mammals, having lived in Britain since the last Ice Age thaw approximately 10,000 years ago, and directly descended from the wild European horses known to be here 130,000 years ago.
Behind the picturesque scenes of Exmoor Ponies on moorland is an army of farmers, volunteers, inspectors and rangers who all work to secure the future of the free-roaming Exmoor Pony.
Heart of Exmoor
“Helping people to enjoy and appreciate Exmoor’s moorland and supporting those who take care of it.” The Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership runs a lottery-funded scheme that promotes moorland as the Heart of Exmoor. The scheme’s 15 projects invest half a million pounds to benefit the landscape and community. Visit heartofexmoor.org.uk for details or call 01398 322164.
The Exmoor Pony Society
A registered Charity, the Exmoor Pony Society was set up in 1921 for the registration of pure-bred Exmoor ponies, the conservation of the breed and the preservation of the breed standard as well as promoting the ponies to the general public. The Society holds the official stud book and, in accordance, with DEFRA legislation acts as a Passport Issuing Office. The Exmoor Pony Society offers training programmes for those wishing to be inspectors and judges as well as showing workshops and offers a number of bursaries to young people with a special interest in Exmoor ponies. The Society promotes the role of the Exmoor pony as a conservation grazer and a video is available for those wishing to learn more. The Society is involved in scientific research supporting projects worldwide. For more information, please visit exmoorponysociety.org.uk or call Sue McGeever on 0845 607 5350.
Friends of Exmoor Ponies
Friends of Exmoor Ponies was set up by members of the Exmoor Pony Society to provide a fund-raising arm to the Society and the team of volunteers travel to shows up and down the country to educate the public about this rare native breed. For more information, please visit friendsofexmoorponies.ltd.uk or call Dr Sue Baker on 01398 341501.
Clare O’ Connor, Exmoor National Park Authority. Direct Line: 01398 322244. Mobile: 07772 092128.
Pictures available on request.