FARMERS

Of The Dartmoor Pony

SUPPORTING OUR FARMERS

Cattle, sheep and ponies can all be seen grazing freely across Dartmoor; however, they are not wild. All livestock are owned by commoners with the right to graze the common land.

The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust supports a number of Dartmoor farmers who breed Dartmoor Ponies. The Trust achieves this by providing castrations for colts, grazing opportunities, grants towards capital costs for welfare or equipment that will aid good management, publicity and marketing of the special qualities of the Dartmoor Pony for riding, driving or conservation grazing and handling young stock from feral to ground started.

By supporting our farmers, we are adding value and long term viability to the Dartmoor Pony ensuring we don’t lose this precious icon from Dartmoor.

The Dartmoor Pony Moorland Scheme

The scheme has been in existence since 1988 and been a great success, improving the pony on the Moor by using good quality stallions. Many of the ponies born in the Newtakes as part of the upgrading scheme, have gone on to successful careers in the show ring and under saddle. However the main aim of the scheme has been achieved by improving the true to type Dartmoor Pony on the Moor.

Mares are inspected by two Dartmoor Pony Society Judges – the criteria being they must be bred on Dartmoor, and owned by a member of the Dartmoor Pony Society with a holding number, within the National Park. These are ponies of true Dartmoor type and whole coloured, but have never been registered in the Society’s Stud Book before for various reasons. Once inspected they come into what is called a Newtake (an enclosed area/parcel of land on the Moor) where they run with a licensed full pedigree stallion for the summer. The progeny is inspected the following year, again by two Dartmoor Pony Society judges, when ponies are collected at Drift time, and if passed as suitable they move up a grade. Ponies are microchipped by the veterinary surgeon in attendance, and paperwork for Passports completed before they are taken back to the owners farms for winter.

 

The Scheme starts off after inspection with a mare becoming an SR (Supplementary Register)

Progeny of which becomes SR1 (Supplementary Register 1)

Female progeny are encouraged to return in to the Newtakes when old enough with a monetary incentive given the first time it returns into the Newtake.

The next progeny thus becoming SR2 (Supplementary Register 2) with the females once again encouraged to return.

The resulting progeny becomes Fully Registered in the main body of the Stud Book.

 

Male progeny are usually gelded and become good children’s ponies or conservation grazers.

A Supplementary Register colt may not be used to sire Registered Pedigree Stock nor may it be used as a Stallion in the Newtakes.

Nowadays there are up to two Newtakes, with a pedigree stallion, with a maximum of fifteen mares in each, and in past years a separate Newtake has been opened for farmers to put mares in, which they wish to keep empty, away from a stallion thus preventing overbreeding.

 

Dartmoor Commons

Common land covers about 37% of the Dartmoor National Park. It comprises the Forest of Dartmoor (11,178 ha, 27,622 acres), surrounded by the Commons of Devon and a scattering of manorial commons, amounting in total to 35,882 ha (88,525 acres). It is this vast open space which was a significant factor when Dartmoor was considered a candidate for national park designation.