EPICENTRE - the newsletter for Exmoor Ponies in Conservation

Exmoor Ponies in Conservation Newsletter

Issue 1 Article 15

PACK IT IN!

Most people will be able to recall a situation where the use of a pack pony would have been ideal. I remember sliding down a icy hill last winter. Watched by bemused Exmoors as I struggled with two water containers, I recall thinking (amongst other things) that the wrong person was doing the work here!

We discovered an authority on the subject in the form of Alex Copeland (Peebles), who spirited a genuine ex-army pack saddle from his 'Alladins Cave' for us to try on one of our ponies. The pony in question is still trying to get over the shock of the idea that this might herald the end of his leisurely lifestyle. He actually took to the saddle quite well. (We haven't told him about the bundles of firewood yet)

Attempts to trace the source of other similar saddles via the M.O.D. proved fruitless however, as apparently they had all recently been despatched to Hong Kong! Alternatively, what is the possibility of making a pack saddle from natural materials which could be found on the reserve, both cheaply and conveniently? Wooden frame, sheep's wool pad and rope perhaps? Most importantly how do you go about training a pony to carry it and a load?

Watch this space for information.................