Extra Events for the Exmoor Pony Festival !

Extra events have been added to the Exmoor Pony Festival as others begin to sell out of tickets. The 2013 festival runs between Saturday 24 August and Sunday 1 September at Exmoor National Park, the home of the famous Exmoor Pony and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Heart of Exmoor scheme.


The Exmoor Pony Festival is packed with more than 15 special events and activities. The festival invites visitors to celebrate and rediscover this unique pony breed, Exmoor’s free-roaming moorland herds and the people who take care of them. The closest relative of the original wild ponies of Europe, the Exmoor Pony is a rare breed renowned for its intelligence and an ability to withstand the harsh conditions of the Exmoor uplands.

Jason Ball, Heart of Exmoor scheme manager announced: “There’s fun to be had with safaris, pony rides, family-friendly fun days, and the first ever exhibition of prize-winning ponies exclusively from Exmoor’s moorland herds, also an astounding demonstration of horsemanship skills and a dedicated behaviour workshop. I believe the Exmoor Pony Festival will make a lasting impression and is bound to change people’s views of these unique ponies.”

400_experience-exmoor_neilchristel1The 2013 festival begins with the popular and brilliant Exmoor Pony Safaris with Experience Exmoor on Sat 24 August (and again on Tuesday 27th) but tickets are selling out fast.

Neil Osmond of Experience Exmoor describes the trip in a nutshell: “Enjoy a wonderful trip to seek out, admire and take beautiful photographs of the world famous free-roaming Exmoor Ponies. We drive as close as we can in our Land Rover Discovery and we also get out of the vehicle as much as possible to see and photograph the Exmoor ponies. Enjoy some exclusive off-road vehicle access to some of the most breathtaking sections of Exmoor’s coastline owned by the National Trust.”

Booking is absolutely essential – there are only 5 places per tour. The special Exmoor Pony Festival price is only £10 per person! Please bring your camera, suitable clothing according to weather and firm footwear. There are beverages on board, but feel free to bring your own too. Experience Exmoor can provide some binoculars. Starting from Lynmouth National Park Centre, the last places are going fast, so call 01271 889316 or 07854 666 800 or email: info@experienceexmoor.co.uk

800_beartallhoopwebThis is closely followed on the Sunday 25 August by the Exmoor Pony Club Liberty & Agility Demonstration. Exmoor Pony stallion Hawkwell Versuvius ‘Bear’ and Dawn Westcott – twice International Horse Agility World Champions – show how to establish connection and trust between horse and handler so the horse can work loose, navigating obstacles and understanding what’s being asked of him.

The Heart of Exmoor scheme has funded the event so it is FREE and all donations towards the Exmoor Pony Festival will be appreciated.

This is not ‘speed-based’ like dog agility – it is about communicating with horses in a language they understand and creating a confident pony who can freely express himself without force and restraint from humans. As predators, we can often forget that the horse is a prey animal and for the ‘wild’ Exmoor ponies, this can instill great fear. This positive, trust-based work will demonstrate how it’s possible to bridge the gap between human and horse and create a deep bond of friendship. This kind of groundwork also helps to create a safer, more enthusiastic riding pony – which Bear is also demonstrating in his ridden activities. There will be the opportunity to meet other members of Bear’s family and the Holtball Exmoor Pony Stud herd.

The demo will take place indoors so does not depend on good weather! Viewing area, toilet facilities & coffee/tea, etc, on site. Plenty of parking. Location: Holtball Exmoor Pony Stud, Holt Ball Farm, Luccombe, Minehead TA24 8SZ. Times: 3pm- 5pm. Booking: Advance booking is essential please – there are no arrivals allowed on the day. Contact Dawn Westcott on 01643 862785 and email marketing@equinetourism.co.uk as soon as you can to be sure of a place.

800_dawnandbearmedalsbestPlaces have already SOLD OUT on the Exmoor Pony Club’s Liberty Training & Behaviour Workshop on 30 August with twice International Horse Agility world champion & Reiki Master, Dawn Westcott. So now Dawn has put on 2 extra workshops on 20 and 22 August (just before the Festival starts). The sessions will explore how to train your horse or pony, based on understanding their behaviour, and how to work at liberty.

Dawn says: “We will enlist the help of the ancient Prehistoric Exmoor pony breed, who are shaped by Nature rather than man, and highly intelligent and independent thinking, making them some of the best equine teachers on the planet for those who want to discover the secrets of working with horses without force and dominance. You will meet our Exmoor pony stallion, Hawkwell Versuvius ‘Bear’ and other members of our Exmoor pony herd.”

Booking is essential for the training at Holt Ball Farm, at Luccombe near Minehead. Contact Dawn Westcott on 01643 862785 / marketing@equinetourism.co.uk to secure your place, and get details about what to wear, insurance, etc. (Visit www.exmoorponyclub.co.uk for more info.)

barle-valley-safari_nAn extra 3 safari dates are now available with Barle Valley Safaris accompanied by a member of the Exmoor Pony Society – so visitors have even more chances to access the pony herds in their natural environment, and an expert eye along for the ride! Leaving from Wheddon Cross car park on Wednesday 28, Thursday 29, and Friday 30 August – the safaris will go to Winsford Hill, Withypool Common, and Dunkery Beacon. The cost is £25 each but there are only 7 places per trip, so to book your place please contact Daphne at Barle Valley Safaris on 07977571494. Booking essential.

These are just a taste of more than 15 events in the 9-day Exmoor Pony Festival.


Download the 2013 Festival flyer with the full events list!

Saturday 24 Aug

Exmoor Pony Safaris with Experience Exmoor   *Booking essential

Sunday 25 Aug

Exmoor Pony Club Liberty & Agility Demo   *Booking essential

Monday 26 Aug

Art Exhibition opens! Meet the author Victoria Eveleigh today!

Hawkridge Revel & Gymkhana

Tuesday 27 Aug

Meet the Herds at Cutcombe Market

Exmoor Pony Safaris with Experience Exmoor   *Booking essential

Wednesday 28 Aug

An Accessible Exmoor Pony Walk

Extra safaris! * Wednesday Thursday and Friday * 

Thursday 29 Aug

Cream Teas and Crafts at the Exmoor Pony Centre

Extra safaris! * Wednesday Thursday and Friday *

Friday 30 Aug

Liberty Training & Behaviour Workshop   *Booking essential

Extra safaris! * Wednesday Thursday and Friday *

Saturday 31 Aug

North Hill Big Adventure Day

Exmoor Pony Fun Day

Exmoor Pony Quiz Night

Sunday 1 Sept

Exmoor Pony Pleasure Ride. *Booking essential

Find out more…

Please visit http://exmoorponyfestival.org.uk for all event updates and news.
Find the Exmoor Pony Festival on Facebook

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 to promote the Exmoor moorland and its heritage. Their projects are investing half a million pounds to benefit the landscape and community. Visit heartofexmoor.org.uk for details or call Jason Ball on 01398 322164.


About Programme Manager

Helping people to enjoy and appreciate Exmoor National Park's moorland, and supporting those who take care of it.
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