"Western Morning News"
Westcountry Horses Friday November 16 2001
Final pony sale consigns annual event to history
final Sherberton Pony Sale at
Princetown tomorrow will herald the end of an era for the Coaker family.
40 years pedigree Dartmoor ponies have been sold at the annual fair which has
become part of local tradition.
the 90s it was a main event on the social calendar, with people travelling from
far afield to enjoy the entertainment, which always included a bar where old
acquaintances could reunite and perhaps buy a pony or some equipment from the preceding tack sale.
Diana Coaker is retiring from the Duchy‑owned farm. Her son, Anton, is
taking over the tenancy and all but 20 of the ponies, and a handful used in the
trekking school, will be sold.
will carry on with about 20 mares. They’ve been here for a hundred years and
you can trace the lines right back, but 1 suppose you might say 1 am semi‑retiring’
said Mrs Coaker.
Coaker began breeding the ponies after the Second World War.
bought a Dartmoor pony at Exeter market for three guineas and it was branded IC
which didn’t mean a thing to me. 1 took her to Exmouth Show and the Coaker
family from Dartmoor were there who IM known for sorne time. Old Frank Coaker
came up and said, ‘That’s Two Tails.’
had been hand‑reared and at one time had worn a skin of a dead foal in the
hope that a mare would accept her, hence the name Two Tails,” said Mrs Coaker.
Tails was eventually put on the train at Exmouth and met at Princetown by the
Coaker family, who put her with a stallion.
course 1 had to go and visit her and ended up courting john for seven years
until we got married,” she said.
Coaker has always run her mares with a stallion in New Takes, a piece of open
moorland which is enclosed
breeding has ensured the registered ponies are in demand all over the world.
They have proved particularly popular in Europe and the United States and Mrs
Coaker says she has flown 47 hours with her ponies.
ponies are so good and we find people abroad buy them and then want another for
their grandchildren. We’ve used them in the trekking stable and they been
successful in the showring.
run wild but they will come into the sheds to have the tails trimmed and they
come very quickly to be quiet, as they are so used to people.
they never seem to forget where they are from. 1 don’t believe horses can
think about the past but if you bring thern back into the past they can remember,”
said Mrs Coaker.
sale seals the lid on a slice of history as it passes into the realms of memoty.
But Mrs Coaker says the Sherberton line will not die out. “We will always have
ponies here,” she said.
sale commences at Ilam at Sherberton Farm, Princetown and will be conducted bv
Sawdve and Harris.