Horses & Ponies

The big and powerful Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch breeds used to plough our fields, whilst the little Welsh Mountain pony was perfect on postal routes or pulling carts down the coal mines. Horses and ponies played a huge part in British working life. Over the last century, industries have been transformed and very few equines are now used.

Donkey

Donkeys originate from the semi-desert regions of North Africa but have adapted well to almost any climate. There is only one type of donkey in Britain, although there are different breeds in other countries.

They were never of great commercial importance in England, unlike Ireland, where they were used to carry panniers (a pair of baskets or boxes, with one on each side of the donkey) and pull small carts.

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Exmoor

Exmoor

Descended from ancient Celtic stock, the Exmoor pony remained isolated on Exmoor for thousands of years. It existed on the moor with little human interference, except for the annual round-up, to check the animals’ welfare and brand the foals. In the last 200 years, changes such as enclosure of much of the moor, spread of motor transport and “improvement” of our native ponies by cross-breeding, has led to a decline in numbers.

When Joe Henson was establishing his collection of rare breeds, each of his four children were allowed to choose a breed which they would like to bring to the Farm Park and care for. The Exmoors were Adam’s choice.

RBST Watchlist StatusEndangered (300 to 500)

Shetland

These miniature ponies were originally developed as the farm horse of the Shetland Islands. They were valued for their small size and relatively great strength. As a result, hey were taken south during the industrial revolution and were widely used down the coal mines as ‘pit ponies’, pulling up the coal trolleys. Today, they are popular children’s riding ponies.

On the Shetland Isles, the ponies can be seen grazing by the roadside, on the beaches or on the heathery hills. Appearing to roam wild, the ponies are, in fact, all owned and tended to.

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Suffolk Punch

The Suffolk Horse is a native heavy horse which are capable of working for long periods without rest, making them relatively cheap to keep.

The Suffolk Punch is the oldest breed of heavy horse to exist in its present form. The earliest Stud Book of any heavy horse breed, and all modern Suffolks are descended from just one horse, Crisp’s Horse of Ufford, which was foaled in 1768. There were many thousands of Suffolks throughout East Anglia before the First World War as they are immensely strong and an ideal horse for working the land or carting goods.

Traditionally the Suffolk’s are known for their ability to be used for draught work and forestry, as well as their ability to work the land. Suffolk Horses are used in cross breeding to produce heavy sports horses for hunter and show jumping competitions. More commonly you will see the breed in ridden heavy horse classes, this is an area that is constantly growing.

Horses & Ponies

The big and powerful Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch breeds used to plough our fields, whilst the little Welsh Mountain pony was perfect on postal routes or pulling carts down the coal mines. Horses and ponies played a huge part in British working life. Over the last century, industries have been transformed and very few equines are now used.

IMG-20200602-WA0009

Donkey

Donkeys originate from the semi-desert regions of North Africa but have adapted well to almost any climate. There is only one type of donkey in Britain, although there are different breeds in other countries.

They were never of great commercial importance in England, unlike Ireland, where they were used to carry panniers (a pair of baskets or boxes, with one on each side of the donkey) and pull small carts.

Exmoor

Exmoor

Descended from ancient Celtic stock, the Exmoor pony remained isolated on Exmoor for thousands of years. It existed on the moor with little human interference, except for the annual round-up, to check the animals’ welfare and brand the foals. In the last 200 years, changes such as enclosure of much of the moor, spread of motor transport and “improvement” of our native ponies by cross-breeding, has led to a decline in numbers.

When Joe Henson was establishing his collection of rare breeds, each of his four children were allowed to choose a breed which they would like to bring to the Farm Park and care for. The Exmoors were Adam’s choice.

RBST Watchlist StatusEndangered (300 to 500)

IMG-20200523-WA0011

Shetland

These miniature ponies were originally developed as the farm horse of the Shetland Islands. They were valued for their small size and relatively great strength. As a result, hey were taken south during the industrial revolution and were widely used down the coal mines as ‘pit ponies’, pulling up the coal trolleys. Today, they are popular children’s riding ponies.

On the Shetland Isles, the ponies can be seen grazing by the roadside, on the beaches or on the heathery hills. Appearing to roam wild, the ponies are, in fact, all owned and tended to.

IMG-20200508-WA0004

Suffolk Punch

The Suffolk Horse is a native heavy horse which are capable of working for long periods without rest, making them relatively cheap to keep.

The Suffolk Punch is the oldest breed of heavy horse to exist in its present form. The earliest Stud Book of any heavy horse breed, and all modern Suffolks are descended from just one horse, Crisp’s Horse of Ufford, which was foaled in 1768. There were many thousands of Suffolks throughout East Anglia before the First World War as they are immensely strong and an ideal horse for working the land or carting goods.

Traditionally the Suffolk’s are known for their ability to be used for draught work and forestry, as well as their ability to work the land. Suffolk Horses are used in cross breeding to produce heavy sports horses for hunter and show jumping competitions. More commonly you will see the breed in ridden heavy horse classes, this is an area that is constantly growing.