Exmoor ponies celebrated in new show

PONY Monsieur Chapeau will make a special appearance.

PONY Monsieur Chapeau will make a special appearance.

First published in Somerset

A NEW Exmoor Pony Show is being held at the Brendon Country Show on August 10.

The Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group is holding its first show, celebrating the Exmoor ponies.

There will be championships for registered Exmoors and ‘Exmoor-type’ ponies, and then both can compete for an Overall Supreme In Hand Championship.

Two ridden classes will follow this, one of which is a Lead Rein class for youngsters.

The Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group was established in January this year by Exmoor moorland farmers and herd owners to improve management and marketing of the ponies.

The group aims to achieve better opportunities and sales of the foals who come off the moors in the autumn.

The founding members of the MEPBG are all Exmoor farming families who are breeding Exmoor ponies.

MEPBG chairman, Nick Westcott, said, "It's encouraging to see the farmers and herd owners sitting around the table discussing breeding programmes and promotion, and the group has already been proactive in facilitating the sorting out of some of the larger, wilder commons to ensure the preservation of the pure-bred ponies.

"We're also looking at the importance of embracing some pure but currently unregistered genetics to enhance the very small Exmoor pony gene pool and harnessing advancements in DNA technology to assist with determining the 'purity' of ponies whose parentage can't be verified.

"And we're working with the Exmoor National Park, Exmoor pony consultant Peter Green and other pony organisations to form an Action Plan for the moorland herds.

"We very much hope people will bring along their pure and part-bred moorland ponies to the MEPBG show and help promote the free-living herds.

"There will be a special appearance by Monsieur Chapeau, the orphaned foal found on the Dunkery Commons in January suffering from severe malnutrition and pneumonia.

"This courageous little chap has made a spectacular recovery in the Moorland Exmoor Foal Project and looks forward to meeting and greeting some of his many wellwishers."

Moorland Exmoor Foal project manager Dawn Westcott added: "Monsieur Chapeau has become somewhat of a mascot for the foal project and has been very helpful in assisting with the taming of the other more wary foals with his steady, trusting nature and cheeky character.

"We are also hoping to show some of the other Exmoor youngsters, a number of whom are looking to find good homes and they're currently learning to lead and do all the things necessary to enable them to attend a show.

"They're all adorable and it's an enriching experience working with them. With time and patience, they're proving to be lovely quality ponies and very cute!"

The MEPBG Exmoor Pony Show is part of the Exmoor Pony Festival on August 9-17.

For more information, visit www.exmoorponyclub.co.uk

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