Thursday, 5 December 2013

Moorland Exmoor foal project

Exmoor foal

As I mentioned in the last blog, the Exmoor pony is an endangered breed, which is really sad, as they are so beautiful and adaptable, and make wonderful riding ponies.

It would be easy to think that they are endangered because there are not enough of them left to breed in significant numbers, but this is not the case.  Unfortunately, quite a few of those born each year are culled.  How could such a terrible situation arise ?
Quote from
"Because of strict grazing quotas and the breeding programmes, most foals, especially colts, must leave the moors each year and find good homes. Sadly, those that do not manage to find good homes are often sent for meat"

"Up until now, there has been a communication gap between the moorland farmers and potential homes that has resulted in a significant number of foals being culled, when there may well have been better opportunities for them. It is clear that more help is needed to promote and market the availability of the foals and the moorland herds - in addition to all the good work that is already being done.

There is also the fact that more good homes may be available if some of the foals can be socialised and handled to make them more appealing to potential owners. When the existing pony organisations are up to capacity, there are still plenty of foals that need a helping hand to make the successful transition from the moor to domestic life."

Foal running back to his mum

Is there anything being done about this ?  Thankfully, yes.

This year Holtball Exmoor Pony Stud / Exmoor Pony Club is running the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project to help support and promote the moorland farmers of Exmoor and their ponies.  Here is how Nick and Dawn Westcott are helping (taken from their Facebook page)

So this year, we are buying some moorland foals and giving them their initial socialisation and training, after which we will be looking for good homes for them. The ponies will come to Holt Ball after inspection and be socialised using positive, trust based training.

In our first year of running this scheme, there is no funding or support and the price we will be able to achieve for the ponies after their initial training will not even begin to cover the project costs. So we are welcoming sponsorship, support, donations - large or small, in whatever form - to help fund this project.

We do not want to pitch this as a 'rescue project'. This is a project run by Exmoor farmers for Exmoor farmers to support, promote and manage the moorland foals who need to come off the moor and try to find them good jobs and good homes, rather than culling them. The Exmoor pony is an Endangered Breed and too many of our genuine moorbred ponies are being wasted through lack of viable opportunities. We want to help change that.

If you'd like to get involved to help with the care and management of the ponies, visit us to observe some of their training, generally lend a hand, or become a sponsor, or make a donation - then please get in touch with us.

Beautiful Exmoor foal

If there is anything you feel you can do to help these beautiful Exmoor ponies please get in touch with Nick and Dawn Westcott Here .  Please help secure the future of this wonderful British native breed, and help save these lovely foals.

 Few months old foal