Equestrian Activities in Devon

If you own riding stables which offer holidays or excursion for holidaymakers, and would like to be included here, please email suppliers "at" devon-visitor-guide.co.uk

Racecourses in Devon

Devon has two excellent racecourses. Exeter Racecourse which is situated on the top of Haldon Hill has wonderful views both over Exeter and Dartmoor. The racecourse organises many different race days ranging from family days to high class steeplechases. Some of the most famous horses to have raced here include Desert Orchid and Best Mate. Newton Abbot also has a racecourse with an excellent reputation as a holiday racing venue.

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Bicton Arena

For anyone interested in horse shows and events Bicton Arena, near Budleigh Salterton in East Devon, provides a wide range of activities to enjoy. This site has grass arenas, an all-weather practice ring, permanent stables, a cross country course and many other facilities. The arena is home to trials, show jumping and one day events. If you are interested in horse shows you can search for upcoming events in Devon at www.thedevonhorseshow.org

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The Donkey Sanctuary and Devon Horse and Pony Sanctuary

Another site of interest is the Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth. Set in the rolling hills of East Devon, elderly and formerly mistreated donkeys are cared for and are waiting to meet you. For further information please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk

There is also a Devon Horse and Pony Sanctuary at Manaton, on the edge of Dartmoor. For more information please visit www.dhaps.org.uk

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The Dartmoor Hill Pony

Dartmoor National Park is home to the native breed of Dartmoor Hill Pony. The ponies live on the moor all year round. However, they are not truly wild animals but owned by farmers who let them graze on the commons. It is believed that the ponies have lived on Dartmoor for approximately 3,500 years with the first written evidence of the ponies relating back to AD 1012. In the mid 1800s the ponies were used to transport granite. It is thought that there are almost 3000 ponies on Dartmoor at present. As well as in industry the ponies have been used for recreational purposes such as show jumping, cross country, one day events, working hunter ponies, carriage driving and of course as popular family ponies. For more information please visit www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk

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The Exmoor Pony

Exmoor National Park is home to the distinctive Exmoor Pony. This unique breed is thought to be the closest breed to the wild horses of Europe. Many people believe that the ponies are wild but in fact they are all owned and allowed to graze on the moor all year. Exmoor ponies have distinctive features such as a mealy buff colour on the underparts and the area around the eyes and nose while the mane, tall and points are black. The colour on the rest of their body can differ from from dun (a smoky-brown) to bay (red-brown) or brown (dark brown). The summer coat is fine and glossy but in winter the ponies grow a thick, two-layered protective coat. Average height is about 12 hands. For more information please view www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

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Lundy Pony

The Lundy Pony is a breed of pony originally developed on the offshore island of Lundy in 1928. The breed was created by the crossing of New Forest Pony mares and Arabian stallions. The harsh environment of the Island led to the ponies becoming strong and hardy. For further information visit www.lundyisland.co.uk

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Grand Western Horseboat Company

Explore the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton aboard a traditionally painted horse-drawn barge. Step back in time as you board the Tivertonian and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the Canal. The Grand Western Horseboat Company is one of only a few, traditional horse-drawn barges remaining in England today. The horse-drawn barge operates in all-weathers and has varying lengths of trip available. Other features on the canal include rowing and self-drive day boats for hire and the floating canal gift shop, which also provides refreshments. For more information visit www.tivertoncanal.co.uk

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Miniature Pony Centre

The Miniature Pony Centre near to Moretonhampstead on Dartmoor gives you a chance to see, meet and touch a range of miniature ponies and donkeys. Please visit www.miniatureponycentre.com

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Donkeys on Exmouth Beach

In the spring and summer you can enjoy views of the two miles of golden sand at Exmouth, by riding on the back of a donkey! Exmouth lies at the mouth of the Exe Estuary in East Devon.

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Carriage Driving

Carriage driving is fast becoming a popular horse activity. There are many centres that provide horse drawn carriages and tuition to help you enjoy a more laid back style of riding. The National Trust at Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, has a magnificent carriage collection on display and even offers courses on carriage driving. For further information about carriage driving please visit the British Driving Society's website at www.britishdrivingsociety.co.uk or the National Trust website www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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