Europe - England

Dartmoor Pony
Photo supplied by the Victorian Dartmoor Group, Karanah Park Pony Stud  - Victoria

Over many centuries ponies were allowed to run freely on the high moorland of Devon in the south west of England. These ponies were well adapted to the harsh climate. As the trade route between Exeter and Plymouth became more important the native ponies would have come in contact with the many different horse breeds that travelled on that road. The breed was also influenced by Arabian and Barb horses brought into the country by the Crusaders. During the Industrial Revolution the Dartmoor Ponies were crossed with the small Shetland Pony to produce a breed small enough to work in the mines. This led to the decline of the Dartmoor. It was crossed with Welsh Mountain Ponies, Polo Ponies and Hackneys to save the breed.
In 1899 the first Dartmoor Stud Book was formed, which set height limits for stallion to 14hh and for mares to 13.2hh. About twenty years later the limit was reduced to the present height of 12.2hh. Many of the modern day Dartmoors trace back to the pure-breed Arabian stallion The Leat out of a Dartmoor mare. After World War II there was a decline in true Dartmoor Ponies and in 1988 the Dartmoor Pony Society Moor Scheme was set up to save the breed. Farmers with unregistered pure-bred ponies were encouraged to register them and to provide them with pedigree stallions.

Characteristics:handsome, sturdily built
Head: small head, well set on; small alert ears
Neck: not too heavy, medium length
Shoulders: sloping, laid back
Body: medium length, strong body; strong back; moderate chest; well-ribbed; good depth of girth; strong loins; strong, muscular hindquarters
Legs: muscular forearms; fairly large knees; plenty of bone below joints; short cannons
Feet: sound, hard, well shaped
Mane and Tail: full, flowing; high set tail
Color: bay, black and brown are preferred; only skewbald and piebald are excluded; excessive white markings are discouraged
Height: not exceeding 12.2hh
Temperament: intelligent, calm
Quality: strong; hardy; smooth, free action; active paces

The Dartmoor is an excellent riding pony well suited for children. Active paces and strength make the Dartmoor also a good harness pony.

Photo supplied by the Victorian Dartmoor Group, Karanah Park Pony Stud - Victoria

  Dartmoor Pony