Dartmoor ponies are vital for maintaining Dartmoor’s landscape and provide pleasure for visitors. But there is no market for them and with indiscriminate breeding, too many foals are born. To save them from suffering, we have to shoot hundreds each autumn, which is a tragedy. The solution is simple: contraceptives for the mares, Ponies on the Pill, but we urgently need land to achieve this.

Why do Dartmoor ponies matter?

The Dartmoor pony is vital to maintain the moor’s varied landscape and vegetation. Ponies are part of the moor’s history and culture. People visit the moor to see the ponies which thus contribute to the tourist economy. The prancing pony has been the Dartmoor National Park’s proud emblem since it was formed in 1951.

What is the threat?

But this important feature of the moor is set to be lost for ever. There is indiscriminate breeding and far too many foals for the current market. With the economic downturn ponies are no longer needed in such numbers for riding and driving. It is more humane to shoot the foals than to transport them away to an uncertain, and probably cruel, future.

What is the solution?

We need to maintain the numbers of ponies on the moor while reducing the numbers of foals born each year. The solution is Ponies on the Pill, contraceptives for mares.

Ponies on the Pill

The Dartmoor Hill Pony Association is running a project to give mares a pill to stop them becoming pregnant. If we succeed it means the ponies can continue to roam the moor with the stallions, living a natural life but without reproducing.

The first year was a success, we had a stallion running with a herd of 20 mares on the pill and no pregnancies.

We urgently need a new parcel of land for stage two. The project cannot continue without this land and all the work will be wasted if we cannot secure it.