The Dartmoor Pony is one of the British "Mountain and Moorland" breeds. The Dartmoor has bred and survived in the open tracts of Moorland in the area of the Dart River. It is probable that these ponies are descended from an ancient class of European horse brought to Britain well before the Norman Invasion. They breed naturally, rarely encountering man in their native state and therefore, only the most hearty and fit survive. In captivity, the Dartmoor Pony is gentle if trained when young and often is used as a mount for young riders. Dartmoor Ponies have a reputation as handsome, compact ponies which perform well in field and at show.
Although the breed is largely "wild" in that it breeds and lives without man's control, there are a number of qualifications a Dartmoor Pony must satisfy if it is to be registered, once domesticated. It must not exceed 12.2 hands in height. The predominant colors of this breed are bay, brown and black; moreover, oddly colored horses (piebald and skewbald) may not be registered. The Dartmoor Pony is compact and strong. It has a small head with very small ears and alert eyes. The shoulders, back and hind quarters are well-muscled and the tail and mane are abundant.
The more remote origin of the Dartmoor Pony is probably traced to ponies brought by migrating people from the continent before the Norman Invasion. The breed, as we know it today is a pony which lives in the county of Devon, England and in the vicinity of the Dart River.
The purity of the Dartmoor Pony breed has for some time been threatened by the introduction of other breeds of ponies - especially the Shetland - to reduce its size so it could be used in the mineral mines so important to Devon's economy. The efforts of private breeders to separate the purest examples of the breed and maintain its integrity, however, promise that the breed shall be preserved.
1. Arabian 2. Welsh 3. Thoroughbred
For more information:
Dartmoor Pony Registry of America
American Dartmoor Pony Association
Listed as "Rare" by The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (2004)
Dartmoor Pony Society of America 145 Upper Ridgeview Road Columbus NC 28722 Phone: (708) 894-5672