Each year excess foals need to be removed from the moor and the FDHP has put much effort into preparing many foals and finding new owners for them. However, a longer term solution is needed and the FDHP is committed to working with pony herders to create a welfare plan that will secure a viable future for these wonderful animals.
How monies donated will be used this year.
Ongoing homing of the ponies who can no longer stay on the moor, which includes subsidising of microchipping passporting transport and training.
Recognising the ponies value through a promotional campaign, websites and Facebook pages.
Providing a point of contact for anyone who wishes to know about ponies on Dartmoor.
The Pony Herders fight to keep quality herds of healthy ponies roaming free, adding to the beauty of Dartmoor and keeping our Heritage alive. Natural England states there is no proof of the value of ponies to the moors, which is reflected by grazing agreements that do not support people who wish to keep their herds of ponies.
Our main projects for this year
1. Provide the the evidence that ponies are a vital part of the biodiversity that Natural England requires to support ponies grazing on Dartmoor.
GPS collars will be fitted to mares and record a position hourly, including temperature and height above see level. This will enable us to mirror a study done of cattle in the same area and record the results. We shall give DEFRA the evidence they should have acquired before they decided to reduce the stocking levels and change the grazing calendars.
2. The development of a moor-wide pony database. In order to roll-out our toolbox for welfare management to pony herders accurately and efficiently. As the welfare management toolbox take-up increases year-on-year, the database will be needed to capture the necessary facts and records, and identify new target herds.
3. Improving and running Projects already in place.
To say thank you we will endeavour to update you with our progress via Website, Facebook and newsletter as we work on a long term plan that will secure a viable future for these wonderful animals.
Donations gratefully received and put to good use in support of the ponies.
Homing a pony
Where to find out more:
We have successfully set up a pony sale website. This has ensured that although only one traditional pony sale remains at Chagford, the homing of ponies gathered off the moor in the autumn has not been affected.
The website enables us to showcase the wide variety of ponies the moor has to offer. Our team of photographers have been busy capturing pictures of ponies all over the moor and uploading photos to the website, sometimes meaning that foals have found homes within days of being born! Unlike at the pony sales, you have time to carefully browse at your leisure to find your perfect pony and there is no pressure to take it home with you that day. Being lucky enough to own a DHP is a huge commitment that you may need a little more time to think about, so the website is perfect for people to find exactly what they want, even if they are searching for a very specific type. You can find and reserve your pony before the drift and some buyers have had the wonderful experience of being able to see their pony out on the moor and observe him or her growing up in their natural environment until they are old enough to leave their mother’s side.
We try to supply as much information about the pony as possible alongside its image. You can see where they can be found on the common, and which herd it runs with, therefore a fairly accurate presumption of its parentage. We can update this as we learn more about them – it has been known for a suspected filly to become a colt! New ponies are added as they are spotted in the wild so your dream pony might just appear! This project is a very new way of finding homes but it is so far working really well and we are so grateful for all the help getting it off the ground especially those who have been on the ground, sometimes literally, trying to see what flavour a fluffy wild foal might be! No wonder they are often so intrigued by strange humans!
Ongoing rehoming of foals which includes costs of microchip, passport/castration and transport and costs in the region of £150 per foal and a contraceptive trial for the mares which costs in the region of £115 per mare. We are also often involved in rehoming older animals and promoting the use for of Hill Ponies for land management and as family ponies at which they excel!
Foal News, come and visit the Dartmoor Pony Centre
They hang out at Corndonford, where they are plied with carrots and cuddles from wonderful volunteers and kind caring sponsors. However, not all of those that sponsor are close enough to visit, some are from as far afield as Canada, which is why one of the ponies is named Tofino after a beautiful place on Vancouver island.
In March/April, the colts will be castrated and they will all be available for homing. Although not able to have a DHP at home, many sponsors agree that it has been almost as enriching an experience, spending time gaining these ponies’ trust and observing them as they grow up and mature over the winter months.