Rare horse and pony breeds benefit from increased funding from the Horserace Betting Levy Board

Rare horse and pony breeds are set to benefit from a £20,000 funding increase from the Horserace Betting Levy Board from 1 April, the last year of the levy scheme.

Grants are made to breed societies to preserve pure-bred populations of native rare breeds and heavy breeds and maintain quality in their breeding.

The Levy Board has approved grants for 2002/3 totalling £125,000 for 12 breeds, including new grants for the Highland pony and the feral Welsh Mountain pony (class A), recently been recognised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The Highland Pony Society grant will facilitate the continuing availability of a top-quality stallion on the island of Rhum, home to the last remaining semi-feral herd of Highlands.

It will also support registration and microchipping of foals and DNA testing of colts, whether they are bred domestically or in the wild.

The Welsh Pony and Cob Society is to introduce a mare and stallion premium scheme to ensure that the best quality ponies are identified andkept on the hill for breeding.

Existing grants to the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, the Clydesdale Horse Society, Irish Draught Horse Society (GB), British Percheron Horse Society, the Dales Pony Society, Dartmoor Pony Society, Exmoor Pony Society, Fell Pony Society, Shire Horse Society and Suffolk Horse Society have been increased by 2.5%.

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