In the mid 1800s it was estimated that there were around 50 recognisable types of horses and ponies in Britain but relatively few of these developed into breeds or survived into the twentieth century and, once lost, a breed cannot be genetically re-created.
Today, both the much-loved Cleveland Bay and Suffolk Punch are on the critical list (less than 300) and there are fewer than 500 Exmoor ponies in the UK. Put into context, many British breeds are actually rarer than the Giant Panda.
In this absorbing study of the breeds that have played a part in our history and our present, author Clive Richardson looks at how the native equine has evolved and how we came to where we are today. He examines the lost and minority breeds - including the Irish Hobby, the Yorkshire Trotter, the Shales Horse, the Orkney and the Eriskay - illustrating the ease with which breeds can either die out or be absorbed into another breed through indiscriminate cross-breeding.
He then moves on to outline what needs to be done to protect the survival of these horse and pony breeds, and who needs to take responsibility: breed societies, breeders and producers, judges, show organisers. Insightful and impassioned, "British Horse and Pony Breeds - and Their Future" outlines the prognosis for our breeds, and implores us to learn from the past and ensure future generations are not the poorer.
Hardcover, 224 pages, 7.7 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches, ISBN-10: 0851319467, ISBN-13: 978-0851319469, Author: Clive Richardson