Hawkwell (Herd 12) Exmoor Pony Gatherings 2010

 Article by Alison Yates
Pete & I have long been admirers of the Hawkwell Herd (Herd 12) of Exmoor ponies so we contacted John Western, who very kindly said we could attend their gathering on October 16th, which also happened to be the day after my birthday. This let Pete of the hook buying a present for me!

We arrived at West Hawkwell Farm at about 10am and there were a few other people there who were all ready to set off for Dunkery Gate to bring the mares, foals and stallion (Ebony) back to the farm. We thought we were going to spectate, but oh no! Everybody that had arrived was duly given a job to do. So after going up to Dunkery Gate with Anne Western and making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing we (Anne, Pete & I) went to our ‘point’ on a lane with crossroads – the idea was for us to make sure the ponies kept going straight down the lane to the farm. An ATV came down the lane ahead of the poies, the driver shouted “they’re coming!” and suddenly, there they were; a mixed herd of Hawkwell & Tawbitts ponies and what a sight it was! I felt goose bumps all down my arms, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and …I got a bit choked!! Pete was busy taking photos so wasn’t really doing the job he was assigned to but the ponies knew where they were going and totally ignored us.

In the car going back to the farm Anne mentioned that they still had some of last years foals (2009) at the farm, 2 colts and 2 fillies. Well, my ears pricked up and feeling very cheeky, I asked if we could see the fillies. They were out in the field with some cattle and sheep and of course galloped off when they saw us coming but we persevered and managed to get quite close. The smaller of the two immediately caught my eye, she had a cheeky look about her and moved beautifully. We didn’t make the decision straightaway to buy her, we were sensible(!!) and had some lunch with the Westerns and a few others who had stayed behind, then we took our leave. On the journey back to Dorset I don’t think we spoke of anything else but this beautiful filly. With our decision made, Pete rang John that evening and asked if they would let us buy the filly, fortunately for us, someone else had been at the farm to buy a filly foal & had given us a glowing reference and back came the answer, yes we could have Hawkwell Sariska! Now the fun began, Sariska came down off the moor in 2009, had been to a foal show in November that year & had then been turned out. John managed to get her in and when we went to collect her on 31st October, she seemed quite happy with a headcollar on and walking around the yard with John. We had a bit of a struggle getting her on the trailer, but managed eventually. The story goes on but much of Sariska’s history is documented on various threads on the Native Pony Sou’West forum, suffice it to say, there is never a dull moment with her around and she has settled down well with our Exmoor broodmare Coed-y-Wern Honeysuckle and we look forward to this, our first year of showing Sariska. She has already made her her debut with us at the SWAWPCS Pratice Show at Kingston Maurward where she won her class. Our fingers are firmly crossed that she will have a successful in hand showing career before coming out under saddle in two years time.

NPSW would like to wish Alison & Pete Yates all the very best for their 2011 season with Hawkwell Sariska.

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