THE EXMOOR EXPERIENCE – Join us for the Exmoor Pony Festival 2017
Now in its 6th year, our festival will be running from 5th-20th August with events both on Exmoor and throughout the UK as we seek to bring the Exmoor Experience to everyone.
Our aim is to bring the people and the ponies together by providing lots of opportunities for people to walk out across Exmoor with the experts. For those daunted by a 6 hour trek why not climb aboard a safari and see Exmoor from the comfort of one of Barle Valley Safaris Land Rovers or simply visit the Exmoor Pony Centre with its easy access and friendly ponies!
5th August BBQ and Quiz
Come and test your knowledge about all things Exmoor and enjoy a barbeque with friends old and new!
6th August Walk Across Dunkery with Tricia Gibson
Exmoor Pony Society member Tricia Gibson has followed the three herds on Dunkery (mainly the Westwilmer and Tawbitts herds) for the past 7 years getting to know all the ponies and providing the Society and the herd owners with vital information regarding the stallions and mares and each year’s foals. Tricia’s love of photography has also provided many photographs of the interaction between stallions, mares and foals providing our facebook followers with many intimate moments. The walk will start at 10am and finish around 4pm – exact meeting location on Dunkery will be posted on here the day before as it all depends where the ponies are!
7th August Barle Valley Wildlife Safari
Join us as we go up onto the moor with Exmoor Wildlife Safaris for a morning or afternoon Exmoor pony specific safari.
An Exmoor pony expert will be on board to tell you all you need to know about this fantastic breed, and no doubt there will be lots of other great sightings en route!
We meet in the car park by the Rest and Be Thankful at 0930 for the morning safari and 1330 for the afternoon safari –
please contact Daphne at Exmoor Wildlife Safaris to book your seat in the Lucky Landy!
If you can’t make the 7th or 14th then do contact Daphne and we will do our best to provide a pony expert on your safari.
8th August Walk Across Haddon Hill with Richard Eales (ENPA Ranger)
Exmoor National Park Authority Ranger Richard Eales will be your guide and you can learn about the ENPAs own herds – Warren and Haddon – and their current breeding programme as well as meeting the Knightoncombe herd that are currently running with the ponies on Haddon Hill. There should be a foals around! Don’t forget to bring your camera. Meet at Haddon Hill car park at 2pm.
9th August Exmoor Pony Society Breed Show at Exford
Join us at Exford Showground and meet the ponies and the breeders and owners who are passionate about this rare native breed. Come to the Exford Showground – classes start at 9am, the parade is in the main ring in the afternoon.
10th August Exmoor Pony Centre Open Day
Come along and have a great time! There will be lots of fun and games and you will have the opportunity to get up close to their lovely ponies as there will be pony rides and grooming sessions. Refreshments will be available in the Green Room building. This is an all-weather event which will be held under cover if necessary. Free Admission with small charges for the activities. Opens at 10am and closes at 4pm.
Minimum age for riding is 4 yrs.
10th August Film Night, Dunster Town Hall (7 for 7.30pm)
An opportunity to see footage of Exmoor ponies both new and old – the wonderful ponies have featured in television programmes and films for decades! Dr Sue Baker, author of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ will be on hand to recount stories old and new!
12th August Join Vanessa Bee and Pam Cox for an Exmoor pony demonstration
Despite having had horses all her life, Vanessa Bee realised she knew nothing about them when she became the proud owner of four Exmoor ponies in 1995. She says it was they who decided that she needed to learn about equine behavior, not just about riding.
After studying thousands of equines, she decided to set up an equestrian sport that put the horse first. So, after a lot of hard work, she started the Horse Agility Club in 2009. It has been a huge worldwide success and she has travelled to many countries teaching people and their horses. The Horse Agility Handbook was her first book. She used her ponies for many of the photos, sending images of Exmoor ponies all over the world. Two other books followed: 3-Minute Horsemanship and Over, Under, Through: Obstacle Training For Horses. Vanessa also has two DVDs: Vanessa Bee – Wild Horse Trainer and Horse Agility.
Pam Cox is a long standing EPS judge and breeder under the Cheritonridge prefix and has served a 4 year term on the EPS committee. Pam is also an NPS M&M mixed panel and TSR panel judge. An experienced producer of Exmoor ponies over the years for the show ring, producing two Supreme Champions at the breed show being the mares Dunkery Kite and Tawbitts Bettina for their owners. Owned and produced her resident stallion Waltersgay Nightingale who was a prolific winner representing the breed at Olympia twice being best of breed on both occasions. Now retired from riding in the show ring, Pam has devoted her spare time to her continued judging and helping to inspire up and coming new judges through sharing her knowledge and experience.
Starts at 2pm.
13th August Ride out across Exmoor with Joanna Webber
Joanna Webber of the Dunkery stud will once again be leading our Pleasure Ride across some of Exmoor’s finest countryside – Exmoors and Honorary Exmoors welcome.
Meet at Colland Cross – off-road parking will be available at Hawkridge just look out for the cones and signs! The circular ride led by Joanna Webber will leave at 11am and take in Anstey Common, Molland Common, Willingford Bridge and Cloggs Down covering a distance of about 8 miles. After the ride there will be refreshments including hot pasties. Festival rosette for all participants. £10 per rider. Ride rules available from secretary(at)exmoorponysociety.org.uk
14th August Barle Valley Wildlife Safari
Join us as we go up onto the moor with Exmoor Wildlife Safaris for a morning or afternoon Exmoor pony specific safari – full details under 7th August.
15th August Walk Across Dunkery with Tricia Gibson
Another opportunity to walk out across Dunkery with Tricia. Full details under 6th August.
16th August Conservation Grazing Day
Exmoor is a treasured landscape that draws visitors back time and time again. Its wide open spaces speak of wildness but are of course the product of thousands of years of grazing and browsing by red deer, Exmoor ponies and, comparatively recently, by hill farmers’ domestic livestock. The day will cover why the Exmoor pony is so well suited to the role, where they can be seen conservation grazing, what is considered a suitable grazing area and the facilities needed, the management of the ponies and a site visit to a nearby dedicated conservation grazing site. Meet at the Moorland Hall at 11am – walk out across Codsend at 1.30pm with Gill Langdon of the Tawbitts herd.
17th August Exmoor Pony Centre Open Day
Come along and have a great time! Full details under 10th August.
18th August Dunster Show
Great opportunity to see Exmoor ponies and a whole host of countryside pursuits.
20th August Family Fun and Model Pony Day – Exmoor Pony Centre @ 2pm
Come and along and learn about Exmoor ponies and bring your own ‘pony’ and join in lots of fun and games – just one restriction – the pony cannot be an actual living equine – so models, hobby horses, stuffed toys etc.
Besides these designated events, we are organising private stud visits so just choose the herd you would like to meet and call us 01884 839930. There will be an exhibition about the ponies running throughout the two weeks at the Exmoor Pony Centre and each day you will be able to meet a different herd owner or horsey author!
Such as Victoria Eveleigh who has lived on Exmoor for most of her life, and for the past 30 years has run a hill farm near Lynton with her husband, Chris. They keep local breeds of livestock – including Exmoor ponies, which have given her endless ideas for stories! Victoria started off writing a self-published trilogy about a girl called Katy growing up on a farm with her Exmoor pony. Then, in 2011, Orion Children’s Books took her on and her existing books were rewritten and given different titles. She now has nine books published by Orion: Katy’s Wild Foal, Katy’s Champion Pony, Katy’s Pony Surprise, Katy’s Pony Challenge, Katy’s Pony Summer, A Stallion Called Midnight, Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe, Joe and the Lightning Pony and Joe and the Race to Rescue. Chris has illustrated them all.
If you are in Lynmouth, Dunster or Dulverton why not take the Exmoor Pony Challenge and seek out the ponies that are hidden away in shop windows – find a pony from every herd and win a rosette.
And, if photography is your pastime, we’d love you to share the images you capture during the festival on our facebook page! You will then have a chance of winning a day out on Exmoor with Tony Stromber, one of America’s best known equine photographers.
The registered Exmoor pony is recognised by the Rare Breed Survival Trust (Watchlist Category 2, Endangered) across the UK.