Bovey Tracey-based Dartmoor Whisky Distillery has announced that it will be supporting charity, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT), based up the road at Parke Estate in Bovey, initially by ‘adopting’ George, one of the Trust’s ponies.
George was born at Brimpts Farm, near Dartmeet, twelve years ago. He is a very handsome example of a Dartmoor pony, is great with children and is definitively a pony with character! He is brave and independent and is well known for taking the lead during ‘Fresh Tracks’, a special category of the World-famous Ten Tors, held annually on Dartmoor. Fresh Tracks is one of the DPHT’s Equine Assisted Learning programmes, for which students train hard to gain the skills needed to navigate a walk of 10-15 miles over open Moor – motivated by the ponies.
Greg Millar from Dartmoor Whisky Distillery said, ‘We are so pleased to have adopted little George. He’s a gorgeous pony and we’re glad to have him as the newest member of the team here at the distillery. “
Greg added, ‘The Dartmoor pony is such an iconic representation of this land. So much so, that a beautiful pony’s head is the main part of our logo. It is important we do all we can to conserve this rare breed and keep them roaming on Dartmoor for our children’s children to marvel at in the future. That is why we have chosen to make our chosen charity the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust and support the brilliant work they do here in the Dartmoor National Park, across the UK and beyond.’
Most of the charity’s funding comes from grants, pony adoptions and sponsorships from local businesses like Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, as well as personal donations and legacies. Clare Stanton from the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust said: “The partnership with Dartmoor Whisky Distillery is a perfect example of how local organisations can support each other. Money raised will go towards George’s training costs this Spring, as we prepare for Fresh Tracks once again in May. We can only deliver the programme free to our students by obtaining appropriate funding.”
George is going to be helping Dartmoor Whisky Distillery on a few things coming up, including their Grand Opening in Easter 2018. Keep an eye out for a chance to meet George soon by staying up to date with all the events on the Dartmoor Whisky Distillery Facebook page (www.facebook.com/dartmoorwhisky).
The aim of the DPHT is to help ensure that the Dartmoor pony continues to thrive on Dartmoor. It does this by working with the pony keepers that own them to promote the special qualities of the moorland-bred ponies and to educate the public to understand the importance of retaining them as conservation grazers, helping to manage and to improve the biodiversity of the moor. DPHT adds value to the ponies through handling and training them to make the ponies more saleable.
The Dartmoor Pony is the traditional, single-coloured pony found on the Commons and open moorland of Dartmoor. Numbers have dramatically reduced over the last few decades; the Dartmoor pony is in fact a rare breed and can be found on the endangered list created by the Rare Breed Survival Trust.
To help spread the word and build awareness around the breed’s fragile existence, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust uses its own herd of ponies as a ‘platform for learning’, helping young people overcome their life challenges through equine assisted learning. The charity runs many events to help raise money for their projects. One of the initiatives is ‘Fresh Tracks’.
The DPHT also leases land at Bellever, Postbridge high up on Dartmoor, to run a herd of up to 26 ponies belonging to its pony keepers, to manage the land. Free guided walks are provided there and are a key method of informing the public about the history and biodiversity of Dartmoor. They are very popular with people of all ages and abilities.
The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre can be found at the National Trust’s Parke Estate in Bovey Tracey Parke and is open regularly. Please see the website – www.dpht.co.uk or call 01626 833234 to find out more.