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The Dartmoor Pony of England

Updated on May 14, 2010
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

Dartmoor ponies during the spring and summer months.
Dartmoor ponies during the spring and summer months.
Dartmoor Ponies in winter.
Dartmoor Ponies in winter.
The mysterious Dartmoor landscape.
The mysterious Dartmoor landscape.
Note the treeless, wild topography.
Note the treeless, wild topography.

Gentle Ponies In the Wild Moors of England..

Dartmoor is a mysterious, brooding section of Devon,England, an area rich in folktales and lonely, dramatic storms. The Dartmoor ponies that roam freely there have been features of the landscape for centuries. it is a stocky, hearty breed and was once used in the mines and in quarries. It is not difficult to train, and works as well as any pony, despite its inherent wildness. It was once thought they were related to the British Exmoor Pony, but new research hints that the Dartmoor has evolved independently. It has excellent stamina, and very strong feet.

The ponies have small heads with wide-set eyes and full manes. They have a gentle temperament and stay calm in the worst of conditions. To qualify as a Dartmoor, the pony must stand no higher than 12.2 hands, and should be bay, brown, black, grey, chestnut or roan. Dartmoor Ponies with "pinto" type coloring and large white places on legs, etc., are not deemed as suitable. They are all adorable-looking, and seemed to live in a fantasy setting, surrounded by rock outcrops, wild streams and open moorland.

The problem is, they started to breed too rapidly after World War II and many animal control experts suggested shooting them to reduce their numbers. At any rate--the facts are unclear and perhaps too depressing to discuss here--their numbers went from 25,000 in the 1930's to less than 5,000 today. At any rate, these sturdy strong ponies have a distinct place in the hearts of many horse lovers in Britain as well as the USA.


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    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Great hub and thanks so much for all the photos. Rated up - of course!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Awww... That's really sad how they decreased in number. 25,000 doesn't seem like a big enough number for people to be allowed to shoot them.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Of course quite rightly we no longer have Pit Ponies. This area of the Uk is lovely and the ponies add to its charm

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you--I hope they don't start shooting them to "reduce their numbers." Surely creative human beings can come up with a better more humane solution than that.

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 

      8 years ago from United States

      I would dearly love to have one or more of these ponies for my children. Out of all the breeds I've been around or researched, these are the ones that seemed the purest fit.

      Thank you for a well-done and meaningful article.

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you sooo much; I'm having a very very sad day (alot of family grief stuff going on ) and your comments and feedback mean everything to me right now.These adorable ponies need to be protected; I wish I could bring a herd of them home and set them free in the national forest here. ha!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome! I really wasn't sure! Wonderful hub, regardless!

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I think so. I found articles on both, but the correct term is "Dartmoor." I know better than to use to common jargon as I lived near Devon. Thanks for the gentle reminder and thank you for reading!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Is a Darkmoor the same thing as a Dartmoor pony?

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      I don't even need to think of ponies being shot needlessly. I have very little tolerance of such things. Hopefully, they are not being shot today. Interesting hub. (; v


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