Category Archives: Events

The Exmoor Pony Festival 2015

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It’s nearly time for the annual Exmoor Pony Festival! This year it’s from 8th – 16th August, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever, with a huge amount happening throughout the week. I’m particularly excited because (all being well and touching loads of wood) Orion the Exmoor pony will be at both the Meet The Herds Day and Exford Show. Also, I’m going to be at the Exmoor Pony Centre during the morning of Thursday 13th August, but I’ll have to go home in the afternoon to get everything ready for the book launch of Katy’s Pony Challenge in the evening. Can’t wait!

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Here’s some information and a programme of events:

The Exmoor Pony Festival is co-ordinated and promoted by the Exmoor Pony Festival Trust. The EPFT is an unincorporated association which was set up as a joint initiative between The Exmoor Pony Society and The Moorland Mousie Trust (Exmoor Pony Centre) to continue the tradition of the festival first established in 2012 to celebrate the free-living herds of registered Exmoor ponies within the boundaries of the Exmoor National Park. The co-ordination and promotion of the festival is undertaken on a voluntary basis.

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PROGRAMME OF EVENTS

All events are open to the public and admission is free unless otherwise stated.

Where booking is required please contact Sue McGeever on 01884 839930.

 

Meet the Herds – Saturday 8th August 11am 3pm
Cutcombe Market & Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross TA24 7DT
Meet representatives from many of the free-living moorland herds of Exmoor, both ponies and people look forward to welcoming you.
Breed Show Social – Wednesday, 12th August 7.30pm Rest & Be Thankful, Wheddon CrossAn opportunity to speak to the breeders and showing enthusiasts and recall the events of the day and look forward to the autumn gatherings.   Booking essential. (9.95 per head)
Meet the Anchor Herd – Sunday 9th August 10am start
Meet at the Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Take a guided walk with the Wallace family, to see mares, foals and stallions followed by refreshments and a walk across Varle Hill to see the free-living Anchor herd.
Activity Day at the Exmoor Pony CentreThursday 13th August 10am-3pm,Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Pony rides, grooming, refreshments, crafts, fun and games.
Withypool Ride – Sunday 9th August 3pm startWithypool CommonJoin us as we ride the route that Herd 23 have taken across Withypool Common during the annual autumn gatherings. There is also a chance to learn a little more about Endurance Riding. Booking essential Katy’s Pony Challenge – Book Launch
Thursday 13th August 7pm
Lynmouth Pavilion, EX35 6EQ
Victoria Eveleigh Exmoor pony owner/breeder and writer will be launching her new book
Conservation Grazing Day – Monday 10th August 11am start
Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross TA24 7DU
Learn about the role of the Exmoor pony as a conservation grazer and visit an environmental grazing site especially useful for those thinking of using Exmoor ponies in this role. Booking required for off site visit.
Exmoor Wildlife Safari escorted by Gill Langdon
Friday 14th August Afternoon, Dunkery
A 4×4 safari taking in the beautiful scenery and hopefully ponies and red deer. Booking essential
Dr Sue Baker’s Talk The Exmoor Pony From Doomsday to DNA
Monday 10th August 7pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
A must do activity for those interested in the history of the breed, talk by Dr Sue Baker author of Survival of the Fittest.
Pony Walk on North Hill with ENPA Pony Ranger and a pony
Friday 14th August 11am, Car park on North Hill
Join us for a gentle walk on North Hill, to see the pony herd and learn about the National Park’s management of the ponies escorted by a tame pony from The Moorland Mousie Trust.
Exmoor Wildlife Safari escorted by Tricia Gibson
Monday 10th August Afternoon, Dunkery/Porlock
A 4×4 safari taking in the beautiful scenery and hopefully ponies and red deer. Booking essential
Social Evening Quiz/BBQ and Exmoor Pony Czech Documentary Film Screening Lesson of Wildness’– Friday 14th August 7pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QE
Come along and have a fun evening with Exmoor pony owners/breeders/enthusiasts , everyone welcome.
Guided walk on Dunkery with Tricia Gibson Tuesday 11th August 10am, Meet at the car park (beside the road) on the top of Dunkery – approx 1/2 way between Webbers Post and Dunkery Gate at 1000.  Bring along your camera, sturdy boots and food/drink for a 10-15 mile walk. Exmoor Pony Extravaganza Exhibition
Sunday 16th August 10am – 4pm
The Green Room, Exmoor Pony Centre TA22 9QEA summary exhibition of the Festival events, to celebrate the Exmoor pony breed.
The Exmoor Pony Society Annual Breed Show
Wednesday 12 August starts 9am
Exford Show Ground
An opportunity to see Exmoor ponies in the show ring from mares with foals to stallions, youngstock and ridden ponies. Visit the website for discounted entry voucher.
Stud Visits can be arranged with the majority of herd owners and additional Safari Trips can be organised throughout the Festival Week.To contact The Exmoor Pony Festival Trust please phone Sue McGeever, Voluntary Secretary, on 01884 839930 or email susan.mcgeever@btconnect.com. For more information on the Exmoor Pony Festival and the ponies please visit www.exmoorponyfestival.com.

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Our Open Day at West Ilkerton Farm for the Exmoor Pony Festival

The weather was awful during the morning, but I’m so glad we didn’t cancel because lots of people braved the rain and mud to visit us. Many thanks to The EMLP for sponsoring our open afternoon, Dr Sue Baker for giving two excellent talks, Sue McGeever and Peter Farmer from the Exmoor Pony Society for helping, Experience Exmoor for providing farm tours in their luxury Land Rover, The Friends of Exmoor Ponies for providing gifts to buy as well as prizes for our competitions and, of course, all the people who came – including Mr Speed and his family, who have decided to buy my mares and start a new herd of Exmoors near Dunster. 

1 ponies by brian 2 exmoor pony festival saying hello to poppy 3 exmoor pony festival at west ilkerton

There are so many enthusiastic and talented people who are breeding, training and showing and promoting Exmoor ponies, and this festival was a great way of bringing them all together. We can all learn so much from each other. I learned a huge amount at the horse agility demonstration at Holt Ball, for instance.

Let’s hope for an even bigger and better festival next year – with lovely sunny weather!

There’s a lovely article about our open day on the Equinetourism website.

Midsummer Book Launch

Many thanks to all the lovely people who came to my book launch in Barnstaple Waterstones on midsummer’s eve (yes, it was raining and blowing a gale).

Especial thanks to Diana Keast, who drove all the way from Marlborough for the occasion. Diana’s family used to own Lundy, and her father – Martin Coles Harman – introduced ponies to the island in the 1920s. A Stallion Called Midnight is dedicated to her because I couldn’t have written it without her help and generosity. On the evening after the book launch several of us got together and gave Diana a surprise early birthday party because she’s gioing to be 90 later this year!

Other wonderful Lundy friends who came to the launch were Bridget Long, Mary Courtenay, Jenny Lo’vel, Reg Lo’vel, Annie Alford, Penny Odhams and John and Marion Balls. I was also delighted that Veronica Henrycame with her husband and son. Her latest novel The Long Weekend is going to be published by Orion at the beginning of July, and I can’t wait to read it.

Hilary Bradttravelled up from South Devon, and she and a friend from South Africa stayed the night with us. I’ve had a sneak preview of Hilary’s latest book Connemara Mollie (which is also going to be published in July) and it’s a beautifully written real-life adventure.

One other friend I must mention is David Kennard, who farms near Mortehoe and is ‘The Boss’ of the wonderful Borough Farm sheepdogs which feature in the Mist films and in David’s books. (Our Exmoor ponies are the singing Exmoors in the Mist films, by the way!)

Four enthusiastic girls from Park School turned up to the launch as well, along with many of our good friends and neighbours, so we had quite a party! Sarah Jane, head of children’s books in Barnstaple Waterstones, was a real star, as was the manager (who came although it was his day off). We completely sold out of A Stallion Called Midnight, which was fantastic. My brother-in-law, Brian Eveleigh, took these photos:

 

Diana Keast and Jenny Lo'vel ('the real Jenny')
Diana Keast and Jenny Lo’vel (‘the real Jenny’)

 

You can't have a party without food and drink!
You can’t have a party without food and drink!