Dartmoor would not be Dartmoor without its herds of semi-wild ponies, a potent symbol of its wilderness.
All the ponies, however are owned by the Dartmoor Commoners, (the farmers and residents of the Moor who have grazing rights on the open moor), and these rights come with the responsibility of seeing that the herds of ponies are kept viable.
To this end they are gathered (“drifted”) every Autumn, and the foals are then weaned. Filly foals that are to be kept as replacement mares are branded and left with their mothers, all other foals are removed. Some colt foals are retained to be gelded and kept until they can be turned out again the following Spring, growing on into riding ponies.
The vast majority of foals are then sold at the pony sales, held at Chagford and Hatherleigh in the Autumn. However over the last few years the price of foals has dropped drastically, and it seemed at one point that the ponies on the moor could disappear, especially in view of the fact that under ill thought out European laws, ponies could not be sold without a passport coating a minimum of £20.00, when foals were being sold for as little as 50 pence. The Auctioneers the decreed minimum bid of £10.00, but that only left many foals with no bids at all and unsold.
A DARTMOOR HILL PONY IS ONE BRED ON THE COMMONS OF DARTMOOR BY A REGISTERED COMMONER, WHOSE SIRE AND DAM RUN ON THE SAID COMMONS. THIS ENSURES THAT THE SIRE HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND APPROVED BY THE DARTMOOR COMMONERS COUNCIL AS A SUITABLE STALLION TO RUN ON THE COMMONS.
INFORMATION FOR ALL DARTMOOR HILL PONY OWNERS:
At the AGM of the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association held at Chagford it was decided to change the name of the Association to something more akin to the understanding of the general public.
No new name has been decided upon yet and in the meantime this website will still be called “Dartmoor Hill Pony Association” with the next line “Dartmoor Hill Pony Owner’s Club” beneath the original name.
Once the new name has been chosen this will be a completely new website and the “Dartmoor Hill Pony Owner’s Club” will remain on this site.
As the “Dartmoor Hill Pony Association” was only open to Dartmoor Commoners, i.e. people allowed to graze animals on Dartmoor, we wanted to open a new venue to all Dartmoor Hill Pony owners and so the above club was formed by a few dedicated pony owners, only one of whom is a commoner.
There is NO joining fee, no committee, officials etc, only the hope that all DHP owners will communicate with each other, via Facebook etc.
We will be holding an exhibition at Ullacombe Farm on Tuesday, 24th July 2018 where you will be able to see photographs by the award winning wild life photographer Brian Sedgebeer of these wonderful ponies in their natural surroundings, hear stories of Dartmoor Hill Ponies in various activities told by their owners and meet two DHP’s themselves. Everyone is welcome.
You can find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/dartmoorhillponyperformanceshows/