Quantock Hills Blog

Exmoors on Quantock

- Ranger Tim writes about our herd of Exmoor Ponies on Cothelstone Hill.

Tim Russell

Posted by Tim Russell on 12 November 2012

Exmoors on Quantock For the last twenty years the AONB Service has run a herd of Exmoor Ponies on Cothelstone Hill, these provide excellent ‘hairy lawnmowers’ for our grazing management of the hill.

Exmoors can graze and browse on a wide range of vegetation; they have evolved over tens of thousands of years to cope with our varied climate.  Amazingly hardy and able to stand up to even the harshest of our winters, the Exmoor Pony is in all probability a surviving ancient horse.  If you look at it in its shaggy winter coat it is remarkably similar to the prehistoric images of horses found on the painted cave walls of France and Spain.  Remains of the ponies have also been found in the Mendip caves from many thousands of years ago, when it was probably being hunted an eaten by prehistoric man.

However hardy, age gradually takes its toll and an individual’s condition can deteriorate.  One of our ponies has been showing signs of deterioration over this year and so we decided to have it humanely dispatched this week so that it didn’t have to face a winter in poor condition.  The pony was 26 years old and has had a pretty good innings living in the wonderful environment of Cothelstone Hill.

The herd now numbers 10 so don’t get confused if you’ve been used to seeing 11.  Should you ever notice any problems with the ponies, please don’t hesitate to call the office on Tel: 01823 451 884 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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    Anna Newman

    12 Nov 12

    Always a difficult decision to make whatever the animal.

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