Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Dulverton, TA22 9QE
Some ponies such as Archie (on the left with Lydia) and Morris (on the right with Linzi) are now being taken to summer grazing sites. Some of our ponies get to live in beautiful locations and Porlock Claudius and Porlock Caius recently joined a group conservation grazing at the Valley of Stones, a National Nature Reserve in Dorset.
Many of the 16 foals we have assisted throughout the winter have moved on to new homes and we will soon be looking for homes for those still on site. Some of them, such as Pip and Magpie are a real hit with visitors. We took in more ponies in the early New Year. Pebble, a three-year old mare, came to us because her owner could no longer keep her. We encourage all owners to re-home their ponies responsibly and where this is not possible we will occasionally help.
Riding activities are now in full swing and in early May we had the first of our new Day Treks across the moor taking in Tarr Steps (below) and stopping for lunch at Tarr Inn.
In 2015 we sent a herd of Exmoor ponies to the Czech Republic and the projects, funded by European Wildlife, have been so successful they have funded a further eleven ponies to create two more herds in the Podyji National Park. The Moorland Mousie Trust worked alongside the Exmoor Pony Society to ensure delivery of the project and in May the lorry arrived to take the ponies on their two day trip across the continent. The ponies in the Czech Republic are well managed and monitored, ensuring inspection, registration and wellbeing of all of the ponies, who co-graze with European bison. These projects help to promote Exmoor ponies as exceptional conservation grazers.
Gelding ponies is a vital part of our work. Though bloodlines and genetics must be carefully managed, ponies coming to us are not required for breeding and so the kindest and most responsible thing is to have them neutered. This can cost up to £200 per pony and requires preparation as well as recovery time. Before youngsters meet our vet, who is extremely experienced with Exmoor ponies, staff and volunteers take it in turns to pretend to be a vet and imitate actions the vet will make. This desensitisation is invaluable when it comes to meeting the vet for real.
We are always grateful for free publicity, so were pleased when the Western Daily Press asked if they could take pictures of us with the ponies for a feature about the many people who work in all weathers to look after livestock, and to highlight the hardiness and qualities of Exmoor ponies.
The nearly-new Ford Ranger we bought in March to replace our old truck is clocking up the miles having already travelled to Surrey to deliver a foster pony as well as regular trips across Exmoor. We are delighted with the vehicle and the fabulous pictures and sign writing and, thanks to the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust and Taw Ford-Barnstaple, no public donations were used to pay for it.
Some dates for your diary:
Saturday 30th June at 12 noon – The Moorland Mousie Trust AGM at the Exmoor Pony Centre. All are welcome.
Sunday, 29th July – Summer Celebration – 11am – 3pm.?Celebrate Summer and the 12th year since we have been open.
5th – 12th August – The Exmoor Pony Festival.?
Thursdays 2nd, 9th 16th 23rd and 30th August – Activity Afternoons – 12 noon – 3pm?.
Tel: 01398 323093.