Friday, 12 January 2018

New Homes for Jack & Barney

We have been busy handling youngstock and finding homes for many of the ponies we take in each year. 

Just before Christmas two ponies, Rebus and Barney, found new homes.  Rebus travelled to Dartmoor to keep a retired racehorse company and Barney joined a family in Somerset where he will be a child’s pony.

Another pony, Jack, returned to us from a foster home. Jack is a lovely pony and has already found a prospective new home to go to in January.  It is great to see our ponies settled in loving and caring homes. 

 Lydia riding Jack and Linzi on Barney having a last outing before the ponies leave for their new homes.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Happy New Year to you all!

Thank you!
We - and the ponies! -  would like to thank everyone for your many kind Christmas gifts of carrots, Polos and other treats.  

These three foals having a look at what Santa has brought them, are Cuckoo, Pipit and Little Owl. Our naming theme this year is British birds.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Delivering the post by pony

A different kind of pony transport was commemorated by Dr Helen Blackman, Exmoor Society archivist, who is researching the old postal routes across Exmoor. Helen and Pony Centre volunteer, Lisa Clarke, mounted on the Pony Centre’s Fudge and Abbi, re-rode the 12 mile postal route from Withypool post office

via Kiteridge Lane 
Lisa on Abbi and Helen on Fudge

and Landacre where the ponies enjoyed a short breather while cooling their feet in the Barle. 

Helen handed Tony Howard a letter outside the post office where he has been postmaster for the past 20 years. 

Until the 1970s the post was routinely delivered on foot or horseback over distances of up to 15 miles. Using maps and material from the Society’s Dulverton Resource Centre, the Society is piecing together the history of the postal service on Exmoor. Helen said “…. as a horse rider I’m fascinated by the role horses and ponies have played in bringing news and information across the moor. This is also a wonderful opportunity to work with the Exmoor Pony Centre and highlight how hardy and useful the Exmoor ponies are.”

Pack Pony Tom

Trekking may have finished for the winter but some of our riding ponies have been showing their versatility by getting involved with things literary and historical.

Pony Tom was guest of honour when, early in November, about forty people gathered in the Green Room at the Pony Centre to celebrate the launch of Dr Sue Baker’s latest book, The Exmoor Pony Chronicles; a collection of stories and reminiscences about Exmoor ponies and the Exmoor families and other people connected with them. 

Tom played a starring role as a pack pony helping to deliver the books. 

He also appears on the front cover as a traditional pack pony, with handlers in full period dress, taking part in the 2015 ENPA Mosaic Project Youth Walk across the route of the Exmoor Perambulation, the traditional long-distance walk dating back to the time of Edward 1st. 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November News

This year seems to be passing faster than ever. I can hardly believe that, as I write, we are at the end of October. We have had our final activity day for this year celebrating Halloween and it is time for the Pony Centre to close to the public for the winter.

Many of our riding ponies will shortly be leaving for their well-deserved winter holiday and rest, staying with friends and fosterers. Over the past few months, our gentle giant Jensen (aka Knightoncombe Eric) has been undergoing intensive training offsite with Linzi. He is a quiet, sensible pony and has already calmly dealt with trampolines, quad bikes and curious cows; all useful experience for when he returns to the Centre to continue his training over the winter. We will also be bringing on three more ponies who will eventually join our riding team and allow some of our older ponies to step back and enjoy a more leisurely life.

Staff and volunteers are busy preparing to receive this year’s intake of foals. Last year we had three unexpected late arrivals bringing our total intake for last year to 26. One of these three has been named by one of our Crowdfunder donors as part of her reward and the name she chose is Roly. As Roly’s two pals also needed names staff have called them - what else? - Jam and Poly. They are all being handled and when they have been neutered they, too, will move on to a home or grazing site. Most of last year’s foals have now been homed or placed with conservation grazing schemes in Northumberland, Hampshire and Suffolk.

Looking forward to Christmas, we have pony cards and calendars for sale in our online shop via our website together with other pony-related items that would make lovely Christmas presents.

It has been the most amazing year. Six months ago funds were at an all-time low and we were all bracing ourselves to face the closure of the Pony Centre. Since then, thanks to all our wonderful supporters and your incredible response to our Crowdfunder appeal, that has completely changed. We now have money in the bank and can look forward to a much more secure future for all our ponies. So thank you all.

Please note the Centre is now closed for the winter and will re-open for half term on Sunday 11th February 2018.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Sue Baker's latest book, The Exmoor Chronicles, was launched today at the Exmoor Pony Centre.

Centre Manager, Linzi Green gave a short talk about MMT pony Tom who stars on the front cover complete with saddlebags.