How to Support the Exmoor Pony Project!

Supporting the Exmoor Pony Project

At Holt Ball Farm, we care for and offer good opportunities to 25+ Exmoor ponies, who are born both on the moor and off the moor - and within our own small breeding programme. The ponies here live naturally in mixed herds,  ranging from foals to veterans. They have free-roaming access to barns and shelter, corrals and pasture, 24/7 all year round. 
We use a positive, trust-based horsemanship approach, including liberty and agility play to build trust and friendship with the ponies.  We also work closely with other Exmoor moorland farmers to help with management, marketing, promotion and finding good opportunities for Exmoor ponies. This includes work in Exmoor National Park, across the UK and overseas.

We welcome sponsorship and backing for the Exmoor Pony Project. 

Our Vision for the Exmoor Pony Project - why are we running this project?

We help herd owners and ponies on Exmoor, across the UK and overseas. Nick Westcott and I both sit on the Exmoor National Park Exmoor Pony Steering Group, and I sit on the Exmoor Pony DNA Whole Genome Project Team. Nick is Chairman of the Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group, for which I handle PR & Communications, and together we continue to run the Exmoor Pony Project and Holtball Herd 11 Exmoor ponies. Together with other moorland farmers and land owners, we have established the Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival to celebrate and promote the Exmoor ponies of Exmoor National Park. 

I have written three books - Wild Pony Whispering and Wild Stallion Whispering have topped the equestrian best-sellers lists, and Wild Herd Whispering was published in October 2017. 

The Exmoor Pony Project is making a significant, positive difference and we are successfully safeguarding the future and finding good homes for Exmoor ponies, while providing vital help and support to new and existing owners. 

Our Vision: Our vision is to work to improve welfare and ease the transition from the moor to good homes for the wild-born ponies, while also encouraging the nurturing of Exmoor ponies in ground - particularly where important genetics can be safeguarded. At the same time we are working to embrace, recognise and give status to the perfectly good Exmoor ponies who are currently excluded from pedigree registration through no fault of their own. We are also encouraging better understanding of socialising, handling, taming, training and managing these very special, intelligent, independent-thinking ponies - and helping people learn how to communicate with and treat them, for better all round results. This starts with the way we treat the ponies (mares and foals) during the autumn gatherings, how we handle them to inspect them as part of their first contact with people, as well as what happens to them thereafter. Part of our work is to educate, inform and promote the breed to the wider world and endeavour to generate interest and enthusiasm in the ponies, drawing more people into the breed. Here on the farm, we are also working to develop the right management systems, studying individual and herd behaviour and working out how the ponies like to live, to best enhance their wellbeing and health. As the ponies mature, they need development and training and we are keen to source the right opportunities for some of them, so that we can continue to help others. 

How you can help:
This work requires considerable time and resource and we welcome support, sponsorship and backing for the project. If you would like to support us, then please email and you are welcome to contribute using the link below. Every contribution helps, no matter how small. Thank you for your interest in our work and project. 

With support, sponsorship and backing, we can do more development work with the ponies here; help more ponies elsewhere; offer more support to herd owners and pony owners; better promote the breed, herds and ponies; organise more talks, demos, workshops, visits, education opportunities; enhance the care of the ponies; improve the facilities and get more help. 

Monsieur Chapeau
Monsieur Chapeau was rescued as a starving, orphaned wild-born foal. He has since made a fantastic recovery and become a wonderful ambassador for Exmoor ponies. He  sadly remains unidentified but DNA testing confirms him as purebred Exmoor. His story is told in Wild Pony Whispering.
Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin
Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin (left) joined us in 2013 from the moor. She was eventually fully pedigree registered. 'Pumpkin' took Monsieur Chapeau under her wing and their special friendship continues. She accompanied him to London to appear on ITV This Morning. Gorgeous Pumpkin has a wonderful temperament. 
Imperial Topaz
Imperial Topaz (on the right here) came to us as a newly weaned moorland foal in 2013. He is a stunning quality Exmoor but was sadly excluded from full registration due to a tiny pale patch on the sole of one foot! Topaz has a wonderful temperament and is really friendly and engaging with people. He loves to go for walks. 
Lady Molly of Molland
Lady Molly of Molland Moor (on the right here)  came to us in early 2014 as a late born foal. She is unlikely to be able to be fully registered due to mare in the Molland herd not being registered. Her father is highly likely to be a registered Tawbitts stallion. She is a wonderful, friendly pony.
Lady Martha of Molland
Lady Martha of Molland Moor (on the right here, and left with Lady Molly) came to us in Dec 2015 as a late born 5 week old foal. She was raised on mare replacement milk and is sired by one of two Tawbitts stallions. She is unlikely to be fully registered (see Lady Molly info) and is a beautiful Exmoor. 
Lady Myrtleberry
Lady Myrtleberry of Countisbury came to us from Herd 423 in 2015. She is DNA parentage verified and will be inspected this winter. She is a lovely, friendly pony and has a cheeky, spirited character with her herd mates. Lady Myrtleberry has beautiful dark colouring with a flame-tipped mane.
Scarlet (on the left here) is truly beautiful. She has a gorgeous golden colouring and a gentle, warm temperament. She came to us in 2013 as a newly weaned moorland foal and was eventually registered as a pedigree Exmoor pony.  She is a sibling to Lady Stumpkin Pumpkin.
Firestar had some pale grey hairs in her mane as a foal, but re-presented her for inspection after a couple of coat changes and she is now pedigree registered. There has been no sign of the grey hairs, thought to be some kind of nutritional issue - which shows the importance of giving foals time.
Tom Faggus evaded his foal gathering and came in from the moor as a yearling, when he joined us. He has been parentage verified and will be inspected this winter. Tom has been tricky to tame and a true example of 'it takes the time it takes.' Now he's coming along very nicely.
Annie Ridd is a beautiful Farleywater mare who came off the moor with Tom Faggus. She is the half sister of the lovely free-living Exmoor stallion, Farleywater Zeus. 
Annie is strikingly beautiful with lovely blond highlights in her mane. 
D'Artagnan joined us as a recently gelded four year old, this year. He is incredibly handsome. His owner had sadly died and he had become completely unwilling to be handled. He is coming along very well here D'Artagnan was not able to be fully registered due to a few pale hairs.
Sitka was born on the moor and came to us this autumn. He has been accompanied by his mother so he can have a gentle weaning. He is by a stallion called Wortleberry and is pedigree registered.  He is very handsome and has lovely movement. 

Your Donation/Sponsorship is very welcome...

If you would like to make an individual donation to the Exmoor Pony Project for an amount of your choice, then  please click the link below. Thank you for your support for our work with Exmoor ponies!  

Other ideas?

If you would like to support our work with Exmoor ponies in a different way and have another suggestion, then please contact Dawn Westcott at 

Contact Dawn Westcott at the Exmoor Pony Project

Share by: