Dartmoor pony

One of the Dartmoor ponies which were grazing behind a wooden fence by the roadside approached me as I climbed up the fence. ‘Oh thank you, sweetie. Will you let me stroke your forehead?’ I reached out and ran my hand up and down while the pony stood there contentedly. Ahhh, I love ponies and horses…

A chance of meeting these adorable creature of Dartmoor can be elusive as the moor is vast and their number is not many – only 800 were found to be grazing  the moor in the spring of 2004.

Some may say ponies in general are very cheeky, and can be impatient, snappy, and sometimes even unreasonable. To some extent the opinions are true. But that is precisely what makes ponies lovable and entertaining. I used to ride a lot in Hyde Park and heard a lot about typical pony antics. There was a story of one pony which tossed a child out of her saddle and ran amok in the park for 2 days. She worried the stable staffs to sick as they knew she could have colic by eating too much fresh grass. Another one was a pony going berserk with excitement when she met the cadets of Horse Guards practicing their drill on Rotton Row. Loud jingling of their breast plates was too much for her and she just lost herself.
My personal account was one crafty pony which stole her stable mate’s cone. I was adjusting a headcollar of one of the ponies before late afternoon hacking. All the sudden, she started to roll her eyes agitatedly. Puzzled, I turned around and immediately knew why she was upset. Her next door neighbour, a blond shorty, managed to slip out of her headcollar somehow and was now busy scoffing her stable mate’s treat from her bucket! The fact, that she decided to steal from her equine companion while she left hers intact for later, tells a lot about how intelligent and cunning they are. Yes, ponies can be wild…

This bunch I met was mellow and chilled out…

Dartmoor ponies are well known for their hardiness and gentle temperament…

In its heyday during the early 20th century, the number of Dartmoor ponies was as many as 25,800. Because of their excellent stamina, they were used in local tin mines and granite quarries.

Their chunky and sturdy legs went up and down over the rugged landscape of Dartmoor, pulling carts and carrying sacks on their back through the extreme weather conditions…

Nowadays, they are left in the moor unmolested, going about their business, free as a bird…

Go on, troopers. Have a lovely day!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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