The ponies are very hardy and actually thrive on Dartmoor despite the harsh winter weather and poor vegetation. In fact, by grazing the moor they play a vital role in maintaining a variety of habitats and supporting wildlife. They become very adept at knowing where to shelter, where the water sources are and where to go for the best spring grass. Those of us who live on the moor have learned to keep our gates closed at all times as they love to come into the residential areas and take advantage of the village greens and gardens!
Most have not been handled, so you should not approach them too closely, or feed them. Because of their calm temperament, strength and sure-footedness, when taken from the moor as foals and trained on, the ponies have been used for many purposes over the years, which has led to the breeding of the different types seen on the moor today. Down through history they have been used for riding and driving, pit ponies, shepherding, taking the family to market or even carrying the postman delivering m