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‘Once you build a bond, you’re set for life’ — meet the producer aiding resurgence of Exmoor ponies

A young show producer has certainly had her hands full this lockdown. As well as a string of other natives, Northamptonshire-based Lauren Brill has not one but five Exmoor ponies in her stables.

The Exmoor pony is classified as a rare breed and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) currently reports that the Exmoor is in the endangered category, with only 300 to 500 registered breeding mares.

While Exmoors do have an increasing presence on the show circuit, the breed is still a minority when compared to some of the more popular small breed mountain and moorlands.

Lauren’s love affair with the breed began when she was just 10 years old, with the gelding Stowbrook Snipe, who she had on loan from Jill Cook.

She was then offered the ride on Yolande Jarvis’ gelding Edwinsfield Nocturne (George) who won a host of titles and also gained places at Olympia, Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the Royal International (RIHS).

“Exmoors are are a very unique breed,” confirmed Lauren. “They can be challenging and quirky, but also very trainable and loveable.

“George was the pony who put me on the map and I am forever thankful to Yolande for the opportunity to ride him.

“I love working with them because they are so rewarding and once you build a bond — which takes a lot of time — you are set for life.”

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Lauren’s current brace of Exmoors includes (L — R, pictured) Jill Stapleton’s three-year-old Thistle, Natasha Foster’s nine-year-old Teagle Swedish Rebel Diamond, Annabel Orrin’s five-year-old Coedywern Tegid, Annette Perry’s seven-year-old Bournefield Celtic Rose and Liz Barker’s eight-year-old Threeshires Edgar.

“I find they usually fit into two categories,” added Lauren. “They are either very sure of themselves, confident and cocky, or timid, nervous and often flighty. You rarely find one in between. But they are full of character one way or another, and they totally get under your skin.”

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