‘working to promote and protect the Exmoor Pony’   

Fund Raiser

The following press release dated May 26th has been issued for Michael Woodcock.

Pensioner hands over the reins for Exmoor Pony Centre jumping challenge

Pensioner Michael Woodcock will no longer be riding Exmoor pony Apollo in a jumping challenge at the end of July - one of a series of special events to mark the tenth anniversary of the Exmoor Pony Centre.

72 year old retired solicitor Michael had hoped to compete with eight year old novice Apollo at the Dunster Country Fair on July 27th to raise money for the Moorland Mousie Trust, the charity which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre. It was a big ask as the young pony was first backed in October 2015 and Michael first sat on a horse at the age of 69.

Michael says: "I didn't take on this challenge lightly. I genuinely felt that Apollo and I had time to train together and pull this off, but it quickly became apparent that - as an inexperienced young pony - Apollo needs a very experienced rider."

"A replacement Exmoor pony more appropriate to my age and limited experience could not be quickly found, so I have regretfully had to withdraw from my fundraising challenge. Instead another rider will show off Apollo's wonderful qualities and versatility at the Fair."

" I will continue to do all I can to support the vital work of the charity that does so much to promote and protect this important endangered rare breed. I hope people will continue to support this fundraising challenge, but if anyone who has pledged money through my JustGiving page would like their donation returned I will gift aid the equivalent sum to reimburse the charity".

It has not yet been decided who will partner Apollo in the show ring, but Michael will continue as the pony's sponsor.


For further information contact: Sharon Goble (press & PR) on 01392 661062/07831 695913 or email sharon@if-media.co.uk.


This page tells the story of Michael Woodcock and Apollo. Together they are going to jump in the Exmoor Pony Society's ring at Dunster Fair, in July 2016, to raise some much needed funds for our charity.

michael_woodcock, exmoor_pony_apollo
Photograph Daniel Miller 2016

To raise money for the vital work of THE MOORLAND MOUSIE TRUST, Registered Charity No. 1116710, Apollo and I will live together at the QSR Equestrian Centre at the foot of the Quantock Hills from April 2016 to practice to jump a round at competition level in the Exmoor Pony Society's ring at the Dunster Country Fair on Wednesday 27th July 2016.

The charity runs THE EXMOOR PONY CENTRE where I sat on a horse for the first time in my life in July 2012 at the age of 69. I am now learning to jump to raise much needed funds for the charity by competing at the Fair, when I will be 73.

Apollo is an eight year old pure bred Exmoor pony registered in the Exmoor Pony Society's stud book. Until autumn 2015 he was in a herd of Exmoor ponies 'conservation grazing' the Northumbrian Hills. Then the most enlightened modern techniques were employed to teach him to be handled and ridden. I am only the third person ever to have ridden him.

Can such an old and novice rider train and bond with such an inexperienced young Exmoor pony in time to face the competition in July? Who knows?

Visit the other pages of this website for more information about the charity's work protecting and promoting this endangered rare breed of native ponies. You can also go to my facebook page and Apollo's very own diary on Twitter to follow our progress at QSR. To donate please visit my JustGiving page.

The work of The Moorland Mousie Trust and The Exmoor Pony Centre relies on the generosity of their supporters. You can also help towards the cost of caring for the ponies by becoming a Friend, joining the 100 Club, fostering or adopting a pony, or by donating your time as a volunteer. Full details on the website.

Please spread this story around family and friends. Thank you.

Michael Woodcock