Dating the exact time-frame for the development of the breed is impossible, although there is evidence to suggest it is Britain’s oldest pony.
Archeological findings do not provide the key, yet some theorise it was the last ice age that saw the emergence of the Exmoor. Whatever the truth, the breed has been in existence for centuries. It can be divided into two respective types: the slightly larger Withypool, and the more common Acland type.
Like so many other breeds, the prevalence of the Exmoor was thrown into jeopardy during the Second World War. Stolen and killed for their meat or used as target practice for soldiers, breed numbers diminished so significantly (only 50 survived the War), that extinction looked likely.
Today, the Exmoor Pony remains rare and is classified as ‘endangered.’ Less than 800 ponies are thought to exist worldwide. Those that do remain boast a semi-feral existence on their rugged native moorland.
The Exmoor Pony is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, supporting the belief that it is a breed of true British antiquity.