The Dartmoor pony is native to the county of Devon in the South West of England. Records show that they have lived on the moors of Dartmoor since the Middle Ages and as such are hardy and resilient. They share the moors with other ponies of all sizes and colours and unknown breeding described as Dartmoor Hill Ponies. However, a recent study has discovered that the Dartmoor Hill Pony has distinct genetics not seen in any other breed before and may give clues to how they have evolved to survive and thrive in a harsh climate.
The Dartmoor pony has been recognised as a distinct species and is classified as ‘endangered’. The breed was severely threatened during the Second World War when the army used the moor as a training area. Later, mechanisation forced the breed into another decline. Sadly, many of the wild ponies lose their lives because of frequent vehicle collisions.