Ponies from Dartmoor are to show off their speed skills later this month (23 November) at Exeter racecourse, in the first race of its kind.
The ponies were born on Dartmoor but are not pure-bred registered Dartmoors and will be provided by Charlotte Faulkner of the Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association.
The ponies have hit the headlines recently, after Ms Faulkner suggested they should be eaten to save the future of the animals.
But this aims to prove their versatility as “tough, hardy and fast childrens’ ponies.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to show everyone how fabulous these ponies are,” said Ms Faulkner. “It will be a lot of fun and we are all so excited about it. It’s a world’s first and we hope it will the first of many.
The ponies, which vary in height from 11hh to 13hh, will have a staggered start over 3f and will be ridden by children.
Following the ponies, Clydesdales will be taking to the turf — ridden as last year by professional jockeys.
H&H blogger Nick Scholfield, who rode in the race last year, said: “I can’t wait to ride again. You can’t help smiling all the way to the home straight when you’re on them. They are such wonderful animals and their very presence seems to make everyone so happy.”
The Clydesdales are owned by Tim Ancrum, who added: “Last year’s race was fantastic and the horses all loved it.”
Devon residents are being offered a £5 discount off the normal price of a Grandstand and Paddock ticket if booked in advance. Children aged 17 and under race free.
The first of seven races is off at 1.05pm, gates open at10.30am.
For more information visit: www.exeter.thejockeyclub.co.uk