The Exmoor pony lives wild in several parts of Exmoor. It is a descendant of ancient wild ponies which became isolated on Exmoor. Sir Thomas Acland is credited with preserving the pure breed when he founded what is now the Anchor herd, which grazes Winsford hill.
Although the ponies live freely on the moors all year eating grass, heather, rush, and gorse, their breeding is carefully controlled by their owners. The herd is rounded up once a year at autumn gatherings. Ponies are branded with a mark, an anchor in the case of the Winsford herd, and a number. Young ponies are then removed for sale and domestication.
For several centuries ponies from the moor were sold at an annual fair in Bampton. In the 19th century pony wrestling was a popular sport. In the early 20th century ponies were widely used by Exmoor farmers for herding livestock and getting around their land. The Exmoor Pony Society was inaugurated in 1921 and registers all ponies