Dartmoor Pony Society

Native Pony National Wildness Survey 2019

Native Pony National Wildness Survey 2019

The Society have been asked to ask members to complete a Wildness Survey relating to Dartmoor Pony herds. The survey is now available in a pdf document or online to complete - link below.

Attention: UK Native Pony breeders/owners/overseers

26th June 2019

Dear Owner / Breeder / Overseer,

In 2013, with assistance from several knowledgeable pony breeders, a 10-point equine
Wildness Scale was designed (1 = extremely domesticated, 10 = extremely wild, 10* = feral).
This scale is based upon a 20-question QUESTIONNAIRE and a weighted points system. To
test the scale’s reliability, a survey of Fell Pony Society herds was conducted in 2013 and
again in 2017. Results were presented at a Fell Pony Society Conference (2017) and at an
International Geography conference (R.G.S., Cardiff University, 2018).
The author now proposes a NATIONAL SURVEY of UK Native Pony Wildness, and UK Native
Pony Societies / Associations have been contacted. Additionally, it is anticipated that
conservation organisations will participate in the Survey. Survey QUESTIONNAIRES may be
downloaded via the website equine-wildness.uk (or can be emailed upon request).

Completed questionnaires may be returned using the email address equine-wildness@hotmail.com.

Questionnaires may be returned either individually or collectively using any method agreed
by the Society/Association/Organisation. PARTICIPANTS SHOULD ASSUME THE OFFICIAL
START DATE OF THE SURVEY TO BE 1st MAY 2019. It is anticipated that most interested
persons/organisations will have completed the survey by 31st October 2019.

The Wildness Scale will determine the present (at 1st May – 31st July 2019) Wildness Level of
any pony/herd. The extensively grazing Przewalski’s horse (China, Russia) would likely score
10/10 (= Extremely Wild). The scale is based largely upon environmental factors, which could
and should be taken into consideration to enhance the biodiversity value, capital value and
designation of genetically important equines.
So that ratings of WILDNESS for all breed herds and for all participating herds nationally may
be calculated, it is hoped that every relevant owner/breeder/overseer will return the
Questionnaire. If any owner does hot wish her/his name and/or breed line (if applicable) to
be associated with later published findings, I shall try to ensure that confidentially is

Clear instructions are attached to the Questionnaire. Accuracy of answers given is essential
to ensure the Survey’s success. Your input will be extremely valuable.

Yours sincerely,
D A Murray
David Murray
F.R.G.S., F.E.I., F.M.A.

Footnote: Why the WILDNESS SCALE is important
The Wildness Scale will:
● Provide an indicator, if used repeatedly, of increasing domesticity / wildness.
● Help to identify factors that may influence Wildness Level and ‘Learned Grazing
Characteristics Erosion’.
● Provide an additional, universally acceptable designation that enhances the biodiversity
value of native pony herds, especially those considered to be an integral part of their
● Assist an understanding of whether a pony / herd is capable of withstanding future UK
extreme climate events.
● Help to identify more precisely a relatively small sub-population of equines within the UK
that, more or less, are grazing extensively, are hefted and are acclimatised.

© Copyright D A Murray 2019

Links to survey

The Dartmoor Pony Society is not collating answers. If you wish to participate then please send your replies direct to David Murray.

The link to the online survey is equine-wildness.uk/questionnaire

Alternatively you can complete and email this survey to equine-wildness@hotmail.com.