The Exmoor Pony Society will now accept either branding or microchipping as a method of identification after the proposal was passed at the society’s AGM on 7 May 2003.

Previously, all ponies approved by the society had to be branded for identification purposes. But as David Brewer, Senior inspector, judge and Chairman of the Council of the Breed Society explains, times are changing.

“There are Exmoor ponies all over Europe and North America and in some of these countries branding is illegal, so about four years ago we passed a partial rule change and began to use microchipping as a permanent method of identification.

“During that time, we assessed its potential as a replacement for branding, as it is quite possible that in the future the practice may be stopped in this country and we wanted to have an alternative in place.

“I am a traditionalist and didn’t want an abrupt change, but microchipping allows us a positive identification for each pony and is a modern 21st century alternative to branding, so membersnow have a choice.”

More than 75% of those present and able to vote at the AGM voted in favour of allowing microchipping as an alternative to branding. The change is effective immediately

The Exmoor Pony Society was set up in 1921, largely by local breeders and enthusiasts, to ensure the continuation of the true, pure-bred Exmoor Pony and to overcome its many threats.

For centuries, this hardy native breed existed on the moor with little human interference, but in the last200 years, changes, such as enclosure of much of the moor, intensification of agriculture, ‘improvement’ of our native ponies by cross-breeding, and the spread of motor transport, led to a decline.

The main aims of the society are:

  • To promote and encourage the breeding of Exmoor Ponies.
  • To form and publish a Stud Book.
  • To institute an Annual Show.
  • To inspect all ponies eligible for registration
  • To examine and approve pony stallions.

    One of the society’s basic requirements is that the pony must be able to survive on Exmoor – if it won’t then it is not a true Exmoor.