Project information

Endangered Exmoor Foal Project

Working with surplus Exmoor pony foals, using natural horsemanship methods, to ensure these unwanted ponies have a future.

Project is ongoing

Charity information: The Moorland Mousie Trust, Exmoor Pony Centre.

The Moorland Mousie Trust, Exmoor Pony Centre. logo
  • Need


    In the past Exmoor pony foals have faced an uncertain future if the herd owner cannot find a buyer for them once they are rounded up each autumn. As a native, rare-breed pony, classified as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, each Exmoor pony is precious to our natural heritage.

    The Endandered Exmoor Foal Project will work towards ensuring the future of these very special ponies.


    By going through a process of handling, using natural horsemanship methods, each foal will learn to be comfortable being handled by humans, to wear a headcollar and be able to be examined be a vet.

    They are then placed in permanent or foster homes or on conservation grazing schemes and many go on to become much loved family ponies.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To ensure the survival and future of surplus Exmoor pony foals born on the moor


    » Purchasing the surplus foals from the herd owners
    » Undergoing foal handling over a period of several weeks to ensure the foal is comfortable being handled by humans
    » Ensuring the foal receives necessary veterinary care, is wormed and in the case of colt foals, castrated
    » Homing handled foals with foster or permanent homes, or ensuring that they are placed on good conservation grazing sites.

    By reducing the number of unwanted and surplus foals born onto the moor each year and by re-homing handled foals and monitoring their future progress.

  • Impact


    By taking in as many surplus pure-bred Exmoor foals each year as we can afford we are able to reduce the number of unwanted ponies which may end up with very uncertain futures.

    The ponies taken in by the Trust receive sympathetic handling and care, learn to wear a headcollar and be led and undergo health checks, worming and medical treatments where necessary. The Trust then finds new homes for them with either fosterers or on conservation grazing schemes throughout the UK.


    For the past two years the Trust has had to reduce the number of foals it can take in directly from the moor.

    Economic necessity and the rising cost of animal feed and veterinary care has also contributed to the decision to restrict the number of new foals taken in.

    Having taken an average of over 30 foals a year for many years, the Trust now needs to spend time backing and training young riding ponies to bring them on to ensure their futures and to act as ambassadors for the breed.


    Donors are able to access regular information about the work of the Trust through our website, FB page and Exmoor pony blog.

    Membership of our Friends of Moorland Mousie Trust scheme provides a quarterly newsletter.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £61,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,750 Veterinary and Castrations To include health checks, worming, castration of all colt foals
      £8,500 Feed, bedding and grazing Over each winter period, November to March
      £6,750 Transport, Farrier and Tack Transportation of foals to and from fosterers and grazing sites, farrier, tack and equipment costs.
      £5,000 Insurances insurances as required
      £35,000 Staffing Costs Salary + NI costs for staff managing the ponies
  • Background


    The Moorland Mousie Trust is based at the Exmoor Pony Centre near Dulverton, Somerset. The foals taken into the Centre generally come directly from Exmoor, however foster homes and conservation grazing schemes are to be found throughout the United Kingdom.


    The preservation of one of Britain's rare native pony breeds will be of benefit to all - to lose any one of our precious pony breeds through failure to support would be tragic.

    Exmoor is known as the home of Exmoor ponies and red deer ...... what would Exmoor be without it's Exmoor ponies ranging and grazing the moorland grasslands and ensuring a diversity of habitats continue to be available for other species.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Moorland Mousie Trust has spent the past 13 years building up contacts with moorland herd breeders, refining the handling techniques used with semi-feral foals and generally increasing its knowledge base and expertise with relation to the rare-breed Exmoor pony.

    To date the Trust has assisted over 500 Exmoor ponies that would otherwise have had uncertain futures and hopes to continue to carry out this work and promote the breed to future generations.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Linzi Green

    Linzi Green is the General Manager of the Exmoor Pony Centre and also holds the role of Pony Officer for the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership.

    Kestra French

    Kestra has her own Exmoors at home and is well known on the Exmoor pony show circuit. She loves her work helping to ensure the future of the breed.

    Rebecca McLeod

    Beccy is our part-time Assistant who came to us initially on a Pluss traineeship and fell in love with the Exmoor ponies.