What is a Dartmoor Pony?

Last Update 14 April 2014

The Dartmoor is an ancient breed originating on the moorlands of Devon in southwest England. Through the centuries, the rough, rocky terrain and sparse grazing produced a sure-footed, strong and hardy pony quite capable of excelling in any number of pursuits. His wonderfully calm temperament and friendly nature make him an excellent choice for adults and children alike. His well laid back shoulder and his long, low stride provide a smooth and comfortable ride for showing, hunting or trail riding. His good looks, pleasant manner and brave nature also make him an excellent candidate for both pleasure and competitive driving. 

The Dartmoor pony was first introduced to North America and Canada in the 1930s. Due to extensive cross-breeding, however, the pure bloodlines began to disappear. Through the dedicated efforts of Mrs. Joan Dunning of White Post, Virginia, the purebred Dartmoor was preserved in the United States. Mrs. Dunning's first Dartmoors arrived at her Farnley Farm in 1936. Her daughter, Mrs. Hetty Abeles, is still among the leading breeders and supporters of Dartmoor ponies today.

Although still considered a rare breed, the population of this quiet, dependable pony has been growing steadily here in the United States. Recently there have been a number of quality imports from England as more people have become interested in breeding and owning Dartmoors. To the delight of Dartmoor admirers, this small and versatile breed of pony is enjoying a genuine resurgence in this country.