On the Moor donations are needed to support creating a good welfare management plan, recognizing the ponies value as a tool of conservation. We are working on Caring for the ponies by:
- Recording and co-ordinating Drifts and Oversight following drifts.
- Stallion Management - Stallion Inspections and register since 1999 to keep the good standard of pony. Donations this year will be used for a Toolbox of options to reduce number of foals born each year, while maintaining the number of ponies on the moor. Please give what you can to keep Dartmoor as we know and love it. Stallion Removal where possible. Recognising that stallions maintain the distribution of ponies, so the moor is grazed evenly. Vasectomising stallions - encouraging all vets to offer this service, for pony keepers who have a stallion, which they do not wish to breed from and who is wise and strong enough to manage his mares and fight of other males who think mares not in foal are very interesting.
- Mare Management Trials and funding a contraception scheme for mares. Mares on this scheme are being monitored to make sure there are no changes in behavior. It is important to respect the social systems within the pony herds and the fabric and interaction of neighboring herds because that is how we use the ponies for the benefit of the ecosystem, all projects must be carried out with sensitivity and care, so we don’t take away the value the ponies have to the flora and fauna of Dartmoor. Please Donate to The Friends to support a Pony to go on contraceptive so mare can stay on Dartmoor with out producing an unwanted foal.
- Pony Health Management, including population management. Creating a uniform method of record keeping for the ponies to give value and support welfare and disease management. We are producing an action plan in case of an outbreak of an infectious disease. Information on worm burdens from faecal egg samples would assist in more targeted and effective worming.
- Health management protocols for new owners and existing pony keepers, this includes a subsidized gelding, Micro-chipping and pass-porting of ponies derogation for ponies on the commons and fall back scheme for humane disposal of stock.
- Promoting and supporting ponies for their value to Dartmoor and beyond as conservation graziers - by giving advice on finding suitable ponies and helping to get ponies to areas where they can be used for conservation grazing. Bringing together Dartmoor commoners with grazing rights and encouraging the next generation, to ensure the future of their cultural heritage, using the traditional ways of working together (e.g..swaling, drifting, droving, and Pony Sales). Arranging for ponies to be passported and micro-chipped when they leave the moor using specially designed mobile handling facilities for wild ponies. Thank you to the Dartmoor National Park and Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society for funding this very valued equipment.
We must recognise that the devaluation of ponies is a key economic driver behind the decision of landowners to focus more on grazing cattle and sheep – ponies are simply no longer financially viable – but the Dartmoor landscape is shaped by a balance of many factors including the grazing of ponies. Without ponies grazing on Dartmoor the landscape will be changed forever. We believe that a mare management scheme(contraceptive project), possibly as part of an integrated programme of population control, will result in preventing the widely predicted extinction of the Dartmoor Hill Pony type and the adverse consequences this will have on the moor’s ecosystem.