Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Dartmoor Pony (Dartmoor)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Dartmoor Pony is an endangered British pony breed named after the region of Dartmoor where it originated.

Dartmoor Ponies have roamed the moorland of Dartmoor in southwest England since 1500 BC. During the Middle Ages, they were used as pack ponies, primarily for carrying tin from tin mines. In the 18th century, many Dartmoor Ponies were crossed with Shetlands to make the Dartmoor Ponies shorter and smaller so they could be used as pit ponies. These attempts proved futile, and ended in the first half of the 19th century.

Following World War I, only a small number of ponies remained, but it was enough to restore the breed. In addition, during the 1920s and 1930s, Dartmoor mares were crossed with the desert-bred Arabian stallion Dwarka, as well as with his Dartmoor/Arabian son The Leat, in order to improve the Dartmoor breed and to turn it into a saddle pony. Several years later the breed faced extinction again, this time because of World War II, but it was saved thanks to groups of dedicated breeders.

Throughout this breed's history, Dartmoor Ponies were kept in feral or semi-feral conditions, a practice which continues to this day. Together with the purebred Dartmoor Ponies, many other British pony breeds also roam the hills of Dartmoor, such as Welsh and Shetlands. Any pony which was born in the Dartmoor wild is called a "Dartmoor Hills Pony," but these ponies should not be confused with the purebred Dartmoor Ponies. For example, one way in which this is relevant is when it comes to the potential coat colors of the Dartmoor Pony. Specifically, a common misconception about Dartmoor Ponies is that they can have pinto coats, when in reality, pinto does not occur in the purebred Dartmoor breed, but can occur in Dartmoor Hills Ponies.

Dartmoor Ponies have a cooperative temperament and are easy to work with, and therefore have good reputation as being mounts for children. In addition, Dartmoor Ponies are also used as pack ponies for walking trips in the moors, and for driving.

Dartmoor Ponies can have a solid coat that is black, bay, brown, or, more rarely, grey, roan or chestnut. Pinto does not exist in this breed, and white markings are kept to a minimum. Dartmoor Ponies stand between 11.1hh and 12.2hh.


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