Saturday, 4 November 2017

Handsome Horses and Posing Ponies

These handsome horses and posing ponies are located around Somerset.  As I come across more of them, I will add to this post. 
 
Mells Church
Mells Church has the only equestrian monument inside a church in England.  The statue of Edward Horner, who was killed at Noyelles in France in 1917 aged 28, was designed by Sir Alfred Munnings.  The plinth on which it stands was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
 
Exmoor ponies are a native British moorland and mountain breed, which has adapted to live on low quality moorland grazing.  They have roamed wild across Exmoor for thousands of years.  Ponies are mentioned of Exmoor in the Domesday Book of 1086.   In 1818 when Exmoor was sold to the industrialist John Knight, Sir Richard Acland took 30 ponies off Exmoor and founded the Acland Herd and other local farmers also bought ponies and founded separate herds.  The Exmoor Pony Society was founded in 1921 to preserve the breed.  However by the late 1940s there were as few as 50 of them left, as many had been used by soldiers as target practice during the Second World War and others had been eaten by hungry city dwellers. 
 
Numbers have increased significantly since then but they are still considered to be endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, as there are less than 500 of them.  Herds of semi-feral Exmoor ponies graze on the open moorland of Exmoor today.  Normally they take no notice when people walk by them.  However a couple we met on the Mendip Hills above Cheddar in January 2016 came over to check us out and I was able to take some close up photos of them in their winter coats.
 
Exmoor ponies are always a shade of brown, bay or dun with black points. They have paler (mealy or pangaré) markings around their eyes, muzzle, flanks and underbelly.  This mealy colouring is typical of primitive breeds of pony.  They are usually 11-12 hands high.
 
Exmoor Ponies on the Mendips

Posing Ponies

Nettlecombe Court Gatepost
 
Willow Horse, Rodney Stoke
This is located in a private garden but is visible from the main road through the village
 
War horse
This horse is part of a Gallipoli memorial art installation, just across the border in the woods of the Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire

Packhorse on a bench end at St Michael's Church, North Cadbury
 
Slightly strange and not terribly handsome horse and rider outside Maw Agri, Lower Weare

This magnificent white horse and his thoughtful giant friend are located at the entrance of Wells Reclamation on the A39 between Coxley and Wells
 
White Horse at Wells Reclamation

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