Friday, 3 January 2014

Visiting the ponies of the British Isles

I've got a plan. My plan is to visit the different types of pony from around the United Kingdom.

Last year I saw Welsh Mountain ponies and their foals roaming around the Brecon hills. I tried to entice them over for cuddles with bits of muesli (granola) bar but they weren't keen. Still, they were very pretty to watch, especially the foals as they bounded over the grass.

I've discovered that you can go pony trekking in the Brecon Beacons so I expect I could pat a Welsh Mountain pony at the pony trekking establishment, even if the pony wouldn't be up to my weight for me to actually ride!

I've also seen semi-wild ponies roaming around the New Forest (which is confusingly mostly not forest these days and dates back over 1000 years). I didn't get to pat the New Forest ponies, but I'm a bit less interested in them as they're a less distinctive-looking breed compared to some of the other Mountain and Moorland breeds.

Anyway, my pony visiting plan was born on a recent trip to Exmoor. There was a lady riding an Exmoor pony around the village of Dulverton to promote the Exmoor Pony Centre. I got to pat the pony and I was enchanted. The pony was all shaggy with winter coat and it had the softest dusty coloured nose! So pretty!

I just noticed on the Exmoor Pony Centre website that you can adopt a pony. I think I might. What's 20 pounds for a year of virtual pony ownership? And it'd give me an excuse to go back to Exmoor as it was such a lovely place to visit. (Seriously, visit Exmoor, it's gorgeous!)

Visit Scotland's picture of two Shetland ponies in fair isle cardigans
Talking of lovely places to visit... I was lucky enough to have a Shetland pony as my first horse growing up in New Zealand. Well, sort of lucky. She was a bad tempered little thing who'd bite me as soon as look at me. Still, she taught me to stick on as she tried to brush me off against fence posts and by ducking under low hanging tree branches. She looked rather like the white cutie on the left from Visit Scotland's very successful marketing campaign. (Of course, I didn't put my pony in a giant cardigan - mainly because I didn't have a giant cardigan!)

Anyway, even having had a Shetland pony in New Zealand, I'd really like to go and see her Scottish cousins in their natural environment. People keep making TV shows with presenters exploring islands around the UK and they keep stirring up my desire to see the various islands. The Shetland Isles look like an amazing place to visit with their Norwegian heritage and unspoilt natural beauty.

I'd also really love to head down south again and visit the ponies on Dartmoor in Devon. Most of the bottom of quarter of England seems to be spectacularly beautiful, so it'd be nice to visit a new bit and get some pony spotting in while I'm at it.  (Note I say 'most'. There are some very dingy towns down the M5).  Dartmoor ponies are fairly rare, but hopefully I'd catch sight of one. And I could pop across and take in Tintagel Castle while I was in the area (another long-held  place on my travel wish list).

I'll let you know how I go with Dartmoor and Shetland this year!

No comments :

Post a Comment

I get really excited when I shout into the void and the void says "hello" back at me. Thanks for your comments!