In what is believed to be a first, a mare registered on the Dartmoor Pony Society’s Supplementary Register as an SR2 (two-h#- thirds of the way to being full pedigree, having been bred ‘up’ from crossing quality, non-pedigree Dartmoor mares with pedigree Dartmoor stallions) – has qualified for the UK’s most prestigious equine showing event, the Horse of the Year Show, held in October at the NEC, Birmingham.
Eight-year- old mare Langworthy Swift Ghost (pet name ‘Rabbit’), bred by Ken Edwards of Langworthy Farm, Widecombe in the Moor, is owned, produced and ridden by Lizzie Houghton and her stepson William Houghton. The Langworthy herd has been bred up over 13 years through the Dartmoor Pony Moorland Scheme and is now producing quality pedigree stock that have been highly placed at shows up to county level.
Langworthy Swift Ghost, out of a moorland mare called Mrs Brimble and by Pantmanr Just So, has won at NPS shows, county shows, the Dartmoor Pony Society Eastern Show, and the Malvern NPS Summer Championships. Earlier this month, at the Dartmoor Pony Society Breed Show, as well as winning the barren mare class in hand, she also topped the Open Ridden HOYS Qualifier. It is believed that she is the first SR2 mare to have qualified. Rabbit will compete against Dartmoors,
Exmoors and Shetlands at HOYS and will be ridden by Will Houghton. This special pony has also qualified for the semi-finals of the Olympia Christmas show, to be held in Grantham. Says Ken: “The versatility of these lovely ponies is outstanding. she is a ‘go- anywhere, do anything’ pony and is regularly used to move cattle across the moor. Shifting sheep is also second nature to her and her riders, Lizzie and Will.
“Our thanks go to the Dartmoor Pony Moorland Scheme and the local breeders who have helped us to retain and improve the gene pool of the pedigree Dartmoor pony and enabled us to have had our success so far. And a special thanks to the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT), which has helped us with promoting and finding good homes for the many ponies we have sold.”
Ken and Daf Edwards moved to Devon in 2003. They took on a few mares from the following year’s drift (Autumn herd gathering) and entered them in the Duchy Moorland Scheme, which enables farmer-owners of unregistered ponies to grade their stock up to pedigree status. One of the first batch of foals included a pretty bay filly that became one of the Langworthy foundation mares: Langworthy Nuthatch. Says Ken “She was the first of many that Lizzie took under her wing and produced to an exceptional standard. A few years later we offered her a foal as a gift, and it wasn’t surprising that she chose a little sister of Nuthatch – Langworthy Swift Ghost.
“Lizzie keeps her ponies with ours up here just outside Widecombe. She manages to juggle producing not just Swift Ghost but also several others, with working full-time for Mole Valley Farmers“.
The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust works with Dartmoor farmers and pony keepers to provide herd management resources (such as subsidised castrations), free pony handling to conservation grazing level and promotion and marketing, as well as helping to find homes for ponies at a sensible value. In turn, this helps to secure the future of the Dartmoor pony on Dartmoor, as a viable ‘crop’ for pony keepers.
Contact: Clare Stanton, on 07885 699802 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Edwards on 01364 621242 Email: email@example.com