Exmoor Ponies in Conservation Newsletter

Issue 2 Article 7

Seacombe Valley

Geoff Hann, (warden / manager), grazes 1000 acres of limestone grassland using eighteen mares who run with stallion Tawbits Mickey. He reports that the ponies are still doing a good job of maintaining the sward, particularly with regard to the control of Tor grass, which was quite a problem at one time.

He has his work cut out at foaling time and this year was no exception. One foal born in particularly bad weather became hypothermic and had to be removed for some TLC. It was touch and go, but the foal recovered and was returned to the mare. Unfortunately it no longer recognised its dam and refused to feed from her. The foal has since become the office 'baby' as staff take turns to feed him. Although the head warden isn't too happy with the state of his lawn, the latest is that the foal is doing brilliantly on the bottle!

Geoff finds the use of a mobile handling pen very helpful when dealing with his ponies. This can be erected and removed easily on any site and may be an alternative to a permanent unit. Although expensive (about 2000) it is durable. More details from Geoff on request.