The annual drift sale took place last week, despite earlier fears that it may be cancelled.
After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the Dartmoor Commoners and the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), a compromise was agreed with Defra to bend the rules to allow the sale to go ahead otherwise the 200-odd ponies that had already been rounded up would have had to be shot.
Defra had brought in new rules about pony passports and the movement of the ponies on the 1st October.
The Westminster edict from Defra stated that any pony sold at the sale must have a nine page laminated pony passport which must be issued at the time; this was branded totally impractical by the Commoners as there is no power at the rural pony sale site in Chagford.
After a number of conference calls between the commoners and Defra an agreement was put in place. This was worked out by Charlotte Faulkner and head of the Commoners Mr Walters.
Charlotte has written up the developments which will be given to the only other pony sale in the country in the New Forest which holds their sale later this month. This year’s sale saw many more attend despite the pouring rain and a number of TV crews were there to record one of this
country’s iconic rural events.
The sale was one of the best sales for years with 224 ponies for sale and 82% sold. Michael Penrick the auctioneer thanked Charlotte Faulkner and her team before the sale started.
As part of the new rules and regulations each pony sold had to be photographed for the new Equine ID passport to record their markings.
The top price acheived was £325.50 by Courtney Heard for a Palomino, but there were plenty of colts for ten guineas.