An auction of Dartmoor ponies has saved nearly 150 from a possible cull

A sale of Dartmoor ponies this week has helped prevent a mass cull of livestock before winter.

The auction at Rendell’s in Chagford, North-East Dartmoor, sold 149 of the ponies, with 17 animals failing to reach their reserve price. There were no bids for 33 of the ponies.

Average sale prices were £24 this year, although some were sold for two guineas and others for 200 guineas.

Rendell’s Timothy Garratt, said: “We had asked owners to bring their best ponies to the sale to help keep the prices up and overall there was a better class of pony than usual.

“Last year there were no bidsfor 90 of the ponies. I believe it is far better to keep the quality high and produce something that people want to buy.”

The auction attracted large numbers after recent publicity and some were bought by people who said they had come to “save”a pony.

Most, though, are believed to have gone to people who go to the sales regularly.

Dartmoor National Park Authority reportedly wants to cut pony numbers on the moor by reducing the number of stallions and possibly introducing contraception.

Fears had been growing of a mass cull of ponies because half of the year’s pony sales were cancelled following FMD restrictions.