Rare breeds championed at county show

  • At the Norfolk Equestrian Show (28 July), an Exmoor pony and a New Forest pony took top honours as the two Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) rare breed supreme champions.

    The winning Exmoor and receiver of the RBST priority breeds title was nine-year-old gelding Threeshires Edgar, owned and bred by Liz Barker and shown by Susannah Muir.

    “He is such a calm and lovely pony,” said Susannah. “He wants to please and will try anything. This was only his second big show and he was absolutely perfect.

    “Rare breeds have brought so much to other breeds – even some of today’s eventers have bloodlines that can be traced back to native ponies like the Exmoor.

    “They are sure-footed and healthy ponies and it is important not only to keep the breed but also to ensure that the standards are maintained.”

    New Forest pony Marleydenes Miriam (above), a four-year-old bay mare shown by Abigail Staff, was awarded the RBST at risk breeds accolade.

    Abigail, who won at the Horse of the Year Show in 2015 on a New Forest pony, says that she has been gradually converted to the breed and now has three New Forest ponies:

    “They are unique ponies,” she said. “They are show-offs, but extremely loyal and versatile, a lovely breed. We can’t afford to lose the native breeds that we are slowly losing and it is important to bring them out to shows like this so that more people can see and appreciate them.”

    Seven of the rare native equine breeds listed as priority or at risk on the RBST watchlist were represented among the 19 rare-breed entrants. Other rare breeds showcased were the Fell pony, Highland pony, Dales pony, Dartmoor pony, and Cleveland Bay horse. The Shire, also on the RBST watchlist, was represented in the show’s Shire horse classes.

    “It was fantastic to see so many of the UK’s rare native breeds showcased here,” said RBST chief executive Christopher Price. “The competitors did the UK’s native breeds proud with a very high standard of agility, skill and composure on display from them all.”

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