A centuries-old native British breed, the Dartmoor Pony comes from the Dartmoor region of southwestern England. Infusions of Shetland, Welsh, and Fell Pony, and even Arabian and Thoroughbred blood, have shaped the Dartmoor?s appearance and character, making it an attractive, versatile, kind-tempered animal today.
The Dartmoor Pony Society, founded in 1924, helps maintain this rare breed. The breed standard allows solid colors and roans, but excludes pinto markings and discourages white markings on the face and legs. The breed standard limits height to 12.2 hands, and most Dartmoors stand 11.1 to 12.2 hands.
Dartmoors are powerfully built with thick necks and short backs. Historically, they?ve worked in mines and quarries, and on farms. However, they are also elegant with a low, smooth stride, which makes them competitive in the show ring today. Their legs are short, but clean and sound, and their hooves are tough. Hardy and athletic with lots of endurance and the ability to jump well, they make excellent all-around riding and show ponies.
There were about 25,000 Dartmoors in the 1930s, but there are only about 5,000 today. Breeders have been concerned about the decline in numbers, and have focused on increasing the Dartmoor population again. Though some ponies still exist in a semi-feral state on the moors in their native land, Dartmoors are primarily found in good practical use today ? ridden, driven, shown, and appreciated for their excellent qualities.