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exmoor pony

The Exmoor is believed to be directly descended from the ponies that migrated from North America across the prehistoric land bridge. This breed, commonly referred to as the Celtic pony, has been studied in fossilized remains of ponies found in Alaska. These pony remains share a unique jaw type with the Exmoor. The earliest crossing was with these Celtic ponies, who bred with the European native ponies of the region in 1000 BC. Only the hardiest of animals survived. There has been very little crossbreeding, making the Exmoor the purest of the native pony breeds. Exmoor was once a Royal Forest and hunting ground, and was sold off in 1818. Sir Richard Acland, the last warden of Exmoor, took thirty ponies and established the famous Anchor herd, which still exists to this day. Local farmers also bought ponies at the dispersal sale, keeping the bloodlines pure. Some farmers tried crossing the pony with other breeds, but the offspring were not hardy enough to survive the harsh moor, and these herds died out early this century. The Exmoor Pony Society was formed in 1921, aiming to preserve the purebred Exmoor. World War II was disastrous for the ponies. The moor became a training ground, and the breed was nearly killed off, with only 50 ponies surviving the war. However, local people were able to rescue and reestablish herds. Exmoor numbers remained low until the early 1980s, when a publicity campaign drew outside attention to the rarity of the breed.

The Exmoor Pony is the oldest and most primitive of the British native ponies, as well as the purest, and some herds still roam free in the moors of southwest England (i.e. Exmoor).

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Exmoor Pony".