IMG_2908 Boss Rum and Dru

Dear Supporters

Hello from all of us at DPHT. We hope you’re well.

We have a lot of news for you!

Firstly, our team has expanded with three new Trustees Mike Lithgow CBE, Dominic Sheldon – Ecologist and Trudie Jenkins of MTD Accountancy – Finance and Treasurer and we have several new volunteers too, which is great. They have a wide range of skills that will boost our knowledge and help focus, target and direct the charity.

Lovely Fresh Green Shoots

Are you enjoying the dry sunny weather? We are, but we were glad to see some rain at the weekend. It has encouraged new shoots to develop in the molinia grass, and Bellever is now bursting with life and birdsong. We are due to carry out another bird survey in conjunction with RSPB at the end of this month, plus a Moth Survey in August.

Transfer of Dartmoor Mares from Bellever

At the end of March we sold four of our original mares, which we have had on Bellever since they were youngsters, to the Royal Veterinary College in Hawkshead for fertility testing. We have the option to bring them back later in the year.

Strangles Update

The Bellever herd is recovering after the last round of strangles testing in March. Only six remain positive. This disease is proving difficult to clear from the herd.

However, on advice from the Chief Vet we have been able to introduce more fillies from Margaret Rogers and Michael Lamb, so are now back up to a full herd of 24 ponies on site. They are all settling in well. Our aim is to vaccinate the herd later this year and we will keep you informed on this new opportunity.

Strengthening our Core Aim

Our new board met recently to discuss future plans. We are realigning ourselves back to our core aim: Securing the Dartmoor Pony on Dartmoor. We have unanimously agreed that now is the time to move away from Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and concentrate on Outreach and Engagement. We felt we were no longer best placed to deliver EAL compared to other local organisations. We will be focusing strongly on supporting our pony keepers, the conservation of the Dartmoor Pony, and the essential conservation work that supports their environment.

It’s all very positive, but it did lead to a decision around our beloved ponies at the Centre. Luckily there is a great solution. This has given us the opportunity to thank our boys for the work they have given us over the years, and we have found them all outstanding five-star homes.

New Five-star Homes for the Boys

Boss will be retiring alongside Braveheart, returning to his original owner Mal Hoare, where he will be reunited with his good friend Smartie. Mal is a long-term benefactor of the DPHT, and she’ll continue to contribute financial support. The boys will continue with light work and if you’d like to visit them in their forever home in Guildford, you’re very welcome.

Rolo and Rum are being relocated to the National Trust’s Rare Breeds Farm at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire. They will enjoy the full attention of equine experts and Rum will continue to flourish with ongoing equine training.

We racked our brains over Rolo! We considered a variety of options but knew this was his perfect forever home. He will thrive in the company of his current best buddy Rum and he’ll get the daily stimulation, ongoing training, equine and human companionship he needs.

After many years of dedicated service in our Ponies Inspiring People programmes, our friends have earned a happy retirement.  We believe the homes we’ve found for them all, are not only outstanding, but they will benefit from all the love and equine expertise they deserve.

While it’s incredibly sad to say goodbye, we’re certain they will be cared for and cherished as the very special ponies they are.  We are absolutely convinced this is the best solution for them and hope you agree.

For any further details, please email Dru Butterfield at

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