Monday, 20 March 2017

Native Pony Event Coxleigh Barton

Come and join us on 30th April 2017 for a celebration of our native ponies at Coxleigh Barton, Barnstaple, North Devon EX31 4JL

A fun event for riders of mixed ability and native ponies of all shapes and sizes.

Small Breeds: Shetland, Dartmoor, Welsh A&B
Large Breeds: Connemara, Fell, New Forest, Dales, Highland, Welsh C&D 
Part- bred/ Native types

XC- £12
SJ- £5 per class
XC & SJ - £15
Closing Date: 27th April 2017

Full details and entry form can be downloaded from our website here.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Ride an Exmoor Pony

What could be better than a visit to Exmoor that includes riding one of our iconic rare breed native Exmoor Ponies. Our Centre offers many riding possibilities for all abilities. We will do our very best to make sure you have an experience to remember. Below is an overview of the riding activities currently available.
For full details and how to book please click on the respective heading.
Please note that all rides must be pre-booked.


Hands on grooming, groundwork and riding fun, tailored to your ability. 1 hour session, £30 for 1 or 2 people. 6yrs and above, for Beginner/novice.


This is for ages 4 and 5 yrs only and is a 40 minute session. £20 for 1 or 2 children.


Get to know your pony before getting on board and having a steady ride around the beautiful surroundings of the Pony Centre. 1 hour group session, £20 per person. 4 years and above,  for Beginner/novice.


Get your pony ready before enjoying a ride around the lanes near the Pony Centre. 1 hour session, £35 per person. 8 years and above, must be competent at walk and trot independently.


Enjoy the feeling of freedom riding one of our special ponies on the moor. 11 years and above,  for experienced riders able to walk, trot and canter independently.

2 hour Trek: £45 per person
3 hour Trek: £55 per person or £50 per person if booking for 2 or more people.

Easter Activity Day

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March Newsletter

Pony Centre manager, Linzi Green, has just returned from Durham where she visited the 10 ponies delivered to the Wild Life Trust for conservation grazing last month. They have all settled well and are happily grazing the Rainton Meadows Reserve. A real success story.

This is the time of year when we begin to look for homes for some of the ponies in our care and we have a lovely selection of ridden ponies, youngsters and companions of varying ages and abilities all looking for foster homes. Their photos and details are on our website. A question we are often asked by visitors to the Centre is why can’t these foals remain on the moor?

Sadly, as man encroaches on to the moor the land available to the ponies becomes ever smaller and a certain area of moorland will only support a certain number of ponies if they are to remain fit and healthy.

So, if there isn’t room for them, why keep breeding? is often the next question.

The Exmoor Pony had a tough time of it during the 1940s. During the war years owners were absent, gates were left open and grazing areas were no longer safe for stock. Many ponies were stolen and transported to cities to provide people with meat during rationing. Troops used Exmoor for training and many practiced on live targets including the ponies. Consequently, by 1946 only about 50 Exmoor ponies and 4 stallions survived. When this was followed in 1947 by one of the worst winters on record, the Exmoor Pony reached the edge of extinction.

Since then, largely thanks to Mary Etherington and a few other dedicated breeders, cattle grids have replaced gates and the boundaries to the commons secured. The number of ponies has steadily increased to around 3,000 worldwide, though it is still classified as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and the number of ponies living free on Exmoor remains around 400.

So continued, carefully controlled breeding is essential in order to rebuild the dangerously diminished gene pool and only by breeding ponies living free in their natural environment on Exmoor can the true qualities of this unique and hardy breed be perpetuated. Filly foals are retained for breeding but only a small number of stallions are required so, sadly, the colts have to be homed elsewhere or else slaughtered.

So that is why the Moorland Mousie Trust exists. To help these surplus ponies to find happy and useful homes away from the moor which in turn enables the herd owners to continue breeding quality ponies in a responsible and humane way. 
The Pony Centre is now open every day except Tuesdays and Saturday. Riding taster sessions are in full swing and trekking begins again at the end of March.Our April Activity Day will be on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 3pm and our full schedule for 2017 is on our website. We hope you can join us.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Foals Looking For Homes

Some of the foals we took in over this winter are now looking for homes. They are all gelded, vetted and happy to wear headcollars and be led.

If you would like to home or foster one of our ponies, please get in touch. Details of all our ponies for homing are on our website.

Here are three of the ponies looking for homes.  Shandy, Rio & Tango with Linzi

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February Newsletter

Work at the Pony Centre doesn’t stop even though its chilly winter time. The ponies certainly keep us busy and warm.

In Mid- January staff at the Centre were preparing for ten ponies to travel to a new home with Durham Wildlife Trust at their Rainton Meadows Reserve. The time to say farewell came on the 17th January with the day of the move starting at 4.30 in the morning on Exmoor and by the early afternoon they were arriving to a crowd of people all eagerly awaiting their new four legged lawn mowers. Durham Wildlife Trust became interested in using the Moorland Mousie Trust for their Exmoor pony needs when they saw how other organisations in the north of England were using the charity and its ponies for conservation grazing. The ponies will be helping to improve habitat on some of DWT’s reserves between the rivers Tees and Tyne.

That same day, the Centre played host to a group of around 50 members of the Chinese community from the Exeter area; a visit arranged by Exmoor National Park and Hikmat Devon CIC. The group enjoyed a talk by Linzi about Exmoor ponies and the work of MMT and the Pony Centre before meeting the ponies for a chance to cuddle and groom and concluding with sandwiches and cake in the Green Room. Everyone said how much they enjoyed the visit and many said they would come back and bring their friends and families.

The Exmoor Pony Centre is always pleased to welcome groups to see the work of the Moorland Mousie Trust, our parent charity, at first hand and learn more about the Exmoor Pony breed. The visits are informative and fun with plenty of opportunity for hands-on interaction with the ponies. In the past we have welcomed U3A and community groups, student and school groups and adult learning groups. If you are interested in a group visit please contact us by email or phone to discuss.

Our volunteers enjoyed a belated Christmas Social recently to catch up on plans for 2017 and to get together and meet others who share the same passions. We have a wonderful and devoted team of volunteers helping with a variety of tasks from ponies to admin to fundraising. We are always in desperate need of more helpers so please do get in touch if you could spare any time to help the charity. You will find a warm welcome!

The Centre will re-open to the public for visits on Monday 13th February and will be holding the first Activity Afternoon of the year on Thursday 16th February to include pony rides, grooming, refreshments and family fun. Treks and Riding sessions will resume at the end of March. Our April Activity Day will be on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 3pm. Our full schedule for 2017 is on our website. We hope you can join us.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Visit by Chinese Group

Yesterday, we hosted a visit from a group of about 50 members of the Chinese community from the Exeter area arranged by Exmoor National Park and Hikmat Devon CIC

Linzi and National Park representatives gave a talk about Exmoor Ponies and the work of the Moorland Mousie Trust after which the visitors were given a tour of the Centre followed by tea in the Green Room.

They all loved hearing about Exmoor Ponies and enjoyed having the chance to get up close to them and do some grooming. As usual the ponies were the stars of the day and many visitors said they would like to return during our open season with family members or groups of students to do some riding.

 More photos can be found on…/exmoornp/albums/72157675653020223