A friend of mine, Somi Roy, has been supporting the protection of the Manipuri pony in India. This breed is famous for being the original polo pony, but has been declining in numbers. Recently Somi sent some good news about the status of the ponies. With his permission, here are excerpts from his email:
It gives me great pleasure to inform you - especially those of you who are lovers of Polo and horses - the state government of Manipur has agreed to establish a natural preserve for the homeless Manipuri Pony. Last month, the Chief Minister of Manipur gave 200 acres at Heingang Lake just below the Pony Shrine for this. Heingang Lake is wet only during the monsoon but the animals like boggy wetlands and feed on water plants as well. The lake is covered with lotuses in the summer.
Not only that, the state has agreed to declare the Manipuri Pony a protected animal. We have reason for some optimism now that the Manipuri Pony, descendant of the great animals of the Mongols, and one of 5 equine breeds in India, will pull through and their number will rise from the perilous less-than-1000 that it has dwindled to today. We have also now established a Manipuri Pony Society so if you are on Facebook, do join. I am thinking I will get some Manipuri T-shirts made!