The Mare & Foal Sanctuary has warned it is nearly full to capacity after dealing with a rise in rescue and abandonment cases.

Ponies are being dumped on waste ground, busy industrial estates or left to breed indiscriminately leading to more and more ponies needing new homes, including 25 ponies taken off Bodmin Moor during a grazing crisis in 2017.
Wild moorland ponies, including abandoned foals, can take months or even years to rehabilitate and train and with more rescue ponies coming in almost every day, the Sanctuary has appealed for help from the region's horse lovers.
Senior Director of Equine, Syra Bowden, said: "We're doing our best to take in as many as we can but we're currently over-capacity at some of our yards.

"We can't take any more ponies in until we have free stables. We have 38 ponies rehabilitated, retrained and ready for rehoming right now which will free up space for more to come in.

"When they come to us many have never been handled before and we have to start from the very beginning, getting them used to being touched, wearing a head collar, even being led.

"It's a lengthy process but we need to make sure they are not only happy and healthy but, most importantly, safe. They have to be confident about anything the outside world might throw at them, from in hand shows to hacking or walking in the lanes, fancy dress competitions to a visit from the vet."

The charity currently has more than 214 horses and ponies at its five Devon farms and a total of 38 waiting to go, with dozens more in training.

And with 459 on loan throughout the region the Sanctuary's Equine Department is always busy making home visits and assisting loaners with advice on caring for their horse or pony.

The horses and ponies come into the Sanctuary for a variety of reasons but they all have one thing in common, they are all frightened.

Head groom Terri Carroll said: "They often arrive in really poor shape and terrified. They could have been orphaned because their mum was hit by a car on Dartmoor or dumped alone and terrified in a city car park. Sometimes it's because someone is unable to cope with a herd that's out of control.

"They arrive for all sorts of reasons, but they leave healthy, confident and eager to learn. I've seen so many bedraggled, sad looking ponies transform into great little companions or rosette winning county show champions."
The Sanctuary offers ponies under various rehoming schemes from companions to project horses and unbroken youngsters – and each one has been well handled, halter trained, is good with the vet and farrier.

Ponies currently ready to be rehomed include Ant and Perky, two beautiful, skewbald young geldings rescued from Bodmin, who are now ready to be rehomed as companion ponies.

Tremain, a gelded former Bodmin stallion, was starving and close to death when he arrived at the Sanctuary's Beech Trees Veterinary and Quarantine Centre in Newton Abbot. He has made an amazing recovery and has recently been backed in the hope of one day being a great little riding pony.

And tiny little American miniature filly Bambola who, at just under a year old, came in as part of a large welfare case and is gaining confidence every day. 

It's a long road from terrified and unwanted to confident and happy, but the Sanctuary has been training horses and ponies for more than 30 years.

Syra added: "Some people think these ponies have no value. We totally disagree. They are clever and willing. Even a gelded stallion like Tremain, who until two years ago was running free, can be trained to ride – and we know he's going to make someone very happy."

If you think you could offer a pony a home visit <a href="http://www.mareandfoal.org/rehoming-list/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.mareandfoal.org/rehoming-list/</a>. Alternatively, you can call the charity's Equine Team on 01626 355969.

 

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