Hope and Star are two very special ponies who have proven that humble beginnings are no barrier to success. Every Autumn on Dartmoor, ponies are sorted into groups and are either taken to market to sell, sold privately, or given to charities to help to find them a new home. Some are sadly sent for meat for zoos and human consumption largely due to the indiscriminate breeding of ponies on the moor.
Hill Pony Resources was founded in 2014 to try and find more of the ponies’ good homes and raise their profile and value. Since then, over 100 ponies from Dartmoor have been rehomed including Hope and Star. In September 2017, Hannah and Matt Illston-Barsby offered Hope and Star a forever home with a view to them eventually become driving ponies. Four years on and they are well on their way to a successful driving career.
“Hope and Star have now started their competition career with the British Scurry and Trials Driving group and we have regular training with Robert Buck from GB Pod Training. They have recently competed successfully in their first county show” explains Hannah.
Dengie Performance Horse Nutritionist Claire Akers visits the ponies regularly to monitor their weights and diet plans. Now the ponies are out competing regularly, they are on a ration of Dengie Alfa-A Lite with Performance Vits and Mins to help maintain the levels of nutrition they need, without adding the calories. Although they are in a lot of work, being native ponies, Hannah and Matt have to keep a close eye on their weight.
“They love their food, and they look amazing! They have gone from strength to strength. We are taking our time with them so they can slowly gain confidence as they are still only 5-year-olds, but we are so pleased with how well they are looking and performing” says Hannah.