Five of Britain’s native breeds are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s critical list, fighting for their survival. Octavia Pollock explains why it’s worth considering these often overlooked horses and ponies...
Anyone who doubts the ability of the Exmoor pony should see the astonishing photograph of Tippbarlake William jumping a hedge out of his field to follow the Beaufort. The wild ponies, with their dark dappled coats and mealy muzzles, are beloved by anyone who devoured Moorland Mousie as a child. Yet the breed is now classed as “endangered” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), as is its southern counterpart, the Dartmoor.
Five other native British breeds are faring even worse: the Cleveland Bay, Eriskay pony, Suffolk, hackney horse and pony and Dales pony are “critical”, with fewer than 300 breeding mares. All five are full of ability and character, yet are often overlooked in favour of more obvious options.
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