130,000 years old
The first wild Exmoor ponies came to Britain from Alaska about 130,000 years ago. Despite being prey animals, they were bred and widely distributed throughout the British Isles and the breed has largely been kept pure. About 9,600 years ago, climatic change restricted the open grazing habitats to mountain and moorland areas. The ponies on these became isolated on the uplands and were known as the British Hill Pony. The first written records of ponies on Exmoor are mentioned in the Domesday Book when Exmoor was designated a Royal Forest. When it was sold in 1818, one of the forest wardens, Sir Thomas Acland, took 30 of the ponies and founded the Acland — later Anchor — herd, which are recognised as true Exmoor ponies.