Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust
Established in 2005, with the backing of the Dartmoor National Park and the ‘brainchild’ of Founder Elizabeth Newbolt-Young of the world-famous Shilstone Rocks Dartmoor Pony Stud, the DPHT continues to focus on influencing change on the Moor, working with statutory bodies and other organisations, but above all the pony keepers to improve the management and viability of the ponies on Dartmoor. Their joint aim is to try to retain some of the quality, traditional type herds on the Moor, while recognising that the commercial challenge for breeders is that they must generate some income to make it worthwhile.
The Primary Aims of the Charity are to preserve the traditional Dartmoor pony on Dartmoor; and to inform and educate the public. It is based at its Information and Education Centre at Parke, Bovey Tracey.
The DPHT leases land at Bellever near Postbridge, where it is responsible for managing the extraordinary landscape and archaeology on the site – with the help of a herd of Dartmoor ponies. Most of those ponies belong to pony keepers and are there to grow and develop. However, some are fillies from herds that were in danger of being lost and benefactors of the Charity donated them to enable the DPHT to preserve some of the most important ancient moorland-bred bloodlines.
The Charity sells ponies on behalf of its pony keepers, providing free handling and training, promotion and marketing, with the result that every pony has a value –usually between £200 to £400. This means that it is actually worthwhile breeders continuing to produce quality ponies. The added-value for purchasers - which includes ongoing advice and support from DPHT - makes it acceptable for them to pay a fair amount. It is a ‘win win’ situation – but hard fought, against the tide of excess ponies and horses with little or no value.
DPHT-sourced, Moorland-bred, traditional Dartmoor pony herds are now to be found all over the UK, from Scotland to Land’s End, providing the perfect conservation grazing solution and a potential source for replacement ponies should a major disease outbreak occur on the Moor. Many ponies have also gone to private homes and are excelling in every discipline – even national Pony Racing, Regional Dressage and International driving!
Annually, the DPHT coordinates its moorland guides to escort some 1200 children and adults across Bellever, showing them ‘real life’ history, incredible archaeology, an insight into the lives of plants and creatures great and small on the Moor – not least the ponies of course! It is believed that the DPHT delivers more free guided walks on Dartmoor than any other organisation.
Every year some 200 young people, with issues that range from challenging behaviour and emotional problems to those with severe disabilities, benefit from structured time with the Trust’s team of volunteers using Dartmoor ponies as the ‘platform for learning’ within its ‘Ponies Inspiring People’ programmes.
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PLEASE GO ONLINE AT www.dpht.co.uk FOR FURTHER INFORMATION