British Isles Ponies: Exmoor Pony

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Exmoor lies on the Bristol Channel coast of Devon and Somerset in southwestern England. This is the home of the Exmoor Ponies that still roam freely on the moors.

The Exmoor Pony is the oldest and purest of the native British pony breeds. Due to the moors’ isolation and climate, along with time and natural selection, the pony developed into a tough, enduring equine.

The Exmoor has two unusual characteristics that it retained from its ancestors. The eyes are protected by a heavy upper brow, known as a hooded eye. It also bears an “ice tail,” a fan of top tail hairs that allow rain to run off the body. The Exmoor also grows a dense haircoat during the winter, with an under layer of downy hair that insulates its body from wind and rain. The top layer has special oils that act as waterproofing.

A child’s mount and driving pony, the Exmoor stands 11.3 to 12.3 hands. Exmoors are usually dark brown with a black mane, tail and legs, although dun and bay are seen as well. The muzzle and eyes are a light fawn color.

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