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Move over, Rudolph: star driving pony called in to help Father Christmas

A driving pony is putting his training to a very special use as he prepares to help Father Christmas this December.

Dartmoor pony Chinkwell Basil has given Rudolph the boot and will be receiving visitors at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre open day on 8 December.

The pony was born on the commons, near Widecombe, and was bred by Margaret Rogers and Michael Lamb of Higher Venton Farm.

Dartmoor pony and driving enthusiast Trisha Luxton bought him and broke him to harness before he was sold to David and Denise Browne three years ago.

“Basil” is driven by the Brownes’ granddaughter, 16-year-old Isobel Wesbroom-Warr, who has competed internationally with the pony.

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“Basil is just incredible”, said Isobel.

“He is 13 years old and has become very accomplished in his lifetime. With Trisha he completed a John O’Groats to Land’s End charity drive with his half-brothers William and Archie.”

Isobel and Basil competed at the FEI youth driving European Championships in Hungary this year.

“We think that’s a pretty amazing achievement for a little pony bred in the wilds of Dartmoor,” Isobel added.

“We are very proud of this much-loved family pony who loves life and is a personable character with the heart of a lion.

“He is going to love being a ‘Dartmoor reindeer’ and we are honoured to have been asked to help Father Christmas!”

Santa Claus, Isobel and Basil will be meeting visitor between 11am and 2pm on the open day at Parke in Bovey Tracey.

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