Fears over mountain ponies

Prices for the unique ponies of North Wales have plummeted as farmers are unable to pay for the costs of vet fees, microchipping and horse passports.

Unique ponies of North Wales are 'valueless'

Farmer Dei Davies has a dozen of the hardy North Wales ponies on his upland farm at Melin y Coed near Llanrwst.

But for the past two years he has kept his stallion apart from his mares, to prevent them becoming pregnant, as he can't afford to raise any foals and keep the breed line going.

The ponies belong to the land, they've been here for centuries. They were bred for the mines and quarries but after that stopped, they stayed on the mountains, running wild.

We used to be able to sell the male foals, and get a fair price, but nobody wants them anymore, they are valueless, so for the last two years I haven't bred from the mares, and I don't know when I will again.

They are a part of the countryside, and they do a good job keeping the moorland grazed.

– Farmer Dei Davies

Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Antoinette Sandbach has written to the Welsh Government asking how farmers can be helped to keep the breed flourishing.

North Wales pony breed is 'dying out'

Farmers are concerned the unique pony breed of North Wales will die out due to rising costs of looking after them. Credit: PA

The sight of mountain pony foals roaming wild over the moors and hillsides of North Wales could be a thing of the past.

The warning comes from Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Antoinette Sandbach who says farmers are concerned the breed is dying out.

The blame is being put on the increasing costs of keeping the animals and the horsemeat scandal.

Few foals were born last year as farmers can't sell them for enough to cover the costs of horse passports, microchips and vet fees.

There is a warning that the ponies' bloodlines could disappear and the moorlands of North Wales will be altered without the ponies to keep invasive plants at bay.

One farmer near Llanrwst says he has decided to stop breeding them altogether.