WE NEED YOUR HELP
In 1947, the Exmoor Pony was on the edge of extinction.
Now, the Exmoor Pony Centre is also on the edge.
Without funding it will close at the end of August.
We appeal for your help to enable us to remain open and continue our work with the unique but endangered native Exmoor Pony.
The Exmoor Pony Centre is run by the Moorland Mousie Trust, a charity formed 17 years ago to help the many unwanted moor bred Exmoor ponies, mainly colt foals, which were being slaughtered every year after the annual pony gatherings.
It was named after Moorland Mousie, the eponymous Exmoor Pony made famous in the book by Golden Gorse in the late 1920s. Moorland Mousie's life depicted the wonderful character of the Exmoor Pony breed.
The Exmoor Pony is classified as 'endangered' by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and carefully controlled breeding is essential to replenish the diminished gene pool. Filly foals are retained for breeding but only a few stallions are needed and many colt foals have to be re-homed or else slaughtered.
At the Centre we take in unwanted foals.
Using sensitive handling methods, we give them essential veterinary treatment, neuter the colts, and accustom them to being headcollared and led. We then place them with foster homes or with conservation grazing schemes where they can lead happy and useful lives. This also helps the herd owners, most of whom are from the local farming community, to continue breeding in a responsible and humane way, ensuring the presence of the free-living herds for future generations.
The Centre is also our trading base and our link with the public.
Here, we raise the income we need to support our charitable work with the ponies.
It is the only licensed, professional facility on Exmoor open to the public where people of all ages and abilities can get close to, handle and learn about Exmoor Ponies and their special qualities; and where they can have a carefully supervised ride either in the safety of an indoor arena or trekking on the moor.
We welcome approximately 5000 visitors a year to the Centre and around 600 people a year ride an Exmoor Pony with us.
We welcome local groups of all ages and backgrounds and we also go to local schools, events and care homes and take ponies to those who, because of age, disability or other reasons, are unable to visit the Centre.
We employ local people and offer work experience to students, including those not in mainstream education who, along with our volunteers, enjoy interacting and socialising while others gain vital life skills and benefit mentally and physically from working with animals. Local businesses, hotels, restaurants and shops benefit from the visitors from home and abroad who come specifically to see and ride our ponies.
Our income last year was £50,000
Our outgoings were £60,000
We are struggling to survive
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find grant funding for an animal charity. We already operate on a shoestring. Our 2 staff members work long hours for low pay because they love the job and we are totally dependant on our loyal volunteers. Without them we could not operate.
Without the Centre, we will no longer be able to open to the public. This will severely impact on our ability to raise funds from activities and events, which ultimately will affect the number of foals we are able to take in.