Dylan Winter explores the blend of genes, breeding, influences of domestication and use across the centuries that has resulted in the nine recognised native pony breeds to be found on the British Isles today. Rare Steeds charts the history, innate character and importance of these breeds and their changing fortunes and relevance in modern day Britain.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, a small herd of ponies crossed a marshy swampland that would one day become the English Channel, separating the British Isles from the European continent. The pony had arrived in Britain. As it spread, other influences were bred in. The breeds that emerged are true exemplars of hardiness, surviving thousands of years of hostile elements and predators. Britain is the only place in the world with so many different feral ponies. Through ancient history to the modern day, the ponies lives and deaths, physiology and feistiness are celebrated.