Could you take on one of Britain’s wildest and ‘widely misunderstood’ ponies?

  • Some 50 colts of a wild and “widely misunderstood” breed will be looking for new homes – which is an “increasingly difficult task”.

    After the annual round-up this autumn, the surplus colts will be removed from the herd of wild Carneddau mountain ponies, who are allowed to move freely in Snowdonia, to prevent overgrazing of the area.

    Gareth Wyn Jones, secretary of the Carneddau Mountain Pony Society, said finding homes for the ponies is hard, as the “unique breed is widely misunderstood and thought to offer little opportunity to horse lovers”.

    The “outspoken hill farmer” is to showcase the versatility of the breed at the GWCT Welsh Game Fair, at Vaynol Estate in Gwynedd on 9 and 10 September.

    “Finding homes for all the ponies that need to be rehomed is a huge undertaking,” he said.

    “Many prospective homes wrongly assume the Carneddau mountain ponies will arrive bucking, rearing and being totally unmanageable – like a wild mustang in a cowboy movie.

    “Understandably people do not like the idea of taking on an undomesticated animal but these clever ponies can adapt to their new, repurposed lives in just a few days [in experienced hands]. Those that have been adopted go on to enjoy riding, driving and showing.”

    All the ponies are rounded up over three weekends in November for an annual health check. Seven families of hill farmers have the right to graze ponies on the 13,500 acres of Snowdonia, and the gathering of ponies attracts visitors from across the world.

    “These wild ponies date back to the Bronze Age,” said Gareth. “Some people think they are just a tourist attraction but they are integral to the ecology of the mountains. Their grazing style keeps everything in balance and even helps some species thrive such as the endangered red-billed chough and dung beetle.”

    The Carneddau Mountain Pony Society will give a demo in the main arena at the Welsh Game Fair to “show visitors how versatile and easy-going the diminutive ponies are”.

    “We hope that this PR exercise will help us raise awareness and prompt more families to enquire about adoption,” Gareth said. “We do not charge for the pony – new owners are only required to pay to have the animal microchipped.”

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