I've come home to an order for ten copies of No Fear,No Force to go out with the latest batch of ponies being re-homed by the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre. These ponies and the books that go with them are going as far as Lancashire, Kent, Cornwall and Derbyshire. It's very exciting reading their new addresses.
With land under pressure from building and flooding, and money tight for everyone, it is amazing that people are still finding nooks and crannies for waifs and strays, rescue ponies or those just needing a new home. This year the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre has managed to find homes for 62 ponies (462 since they started) but still has 13 more to go and organisation such as H.O.P.E. have re-homed many more. Before anyone says that 'rescuing' ponies just leads to a greater supply, I should add that the farmer behind the DPTC project is cutting his herd down to an absolute minimum for good. Here on the Forest, the Commoners are still restricting the number of stallions turned out to 10 for 2014 and they will only go out for a month. Nevertheless there is still as very poor market for small ponies.
The onus has to be on ALL horse owners to really think before they breed from any horse. Breeding is always a gamble and it is the horse that pays if things go wrong and there is either no market or no job for the horse. It's tempting to say that we should only breed from pedigree, registered stock but we do need to be careful about breeding for breed standards and breed traits without paying attention to the overall conformation and temperament of the horse. It's no good having a fast horse with poor feet.
I am delighted to be able to help the charities that make such a massive effort to find homes for these ponies, to help people who take them on, and to be able to watch the fantastic progress the ponies make. Contrary to popular opinion, most of them end up in a upward spiral!
GOT ROOM IN YOUR HEART AND YOUR FIELD FOR AN UNHANDLED DARTMOOR HILL PONY GELDING? Please contact me and I will put you in touch with Natalie at the DPTC. She has eight more to find homes for otherwise they are likely to go to Potters in March. An inconvenient truth but true all the same. These ponies are some of the most straightforward to bring around and you will have a copy of my book to work with.