Little Ponies

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Lonely Pony Rescue

pony - rufus

This little pony is in a dreadful condition.   We’ve recently rescued him and will try to improve his well-being.   Yes, he has been sadly neglected, but no, it isn’t a cruelty case.   His owner has had dementia for some years and it’s worsened, she is now in hospital.  She loves horses and all animals but hasn’t been able to care for them.   Sally, the little Westie we took in, is from the same home and is now safe with us and on the road to recovery.

Rufus may not look too bad at first sight.  He has many serious health problems though and it will be a long time before recovers.   One of the most distressing aspects is that he’s lived on his own in a back garden for many years – he’s 18 years old now.   When we were alerted to his plight he’d been shut in a stable for a long time.  He couldn’t see out and was knee deep in muck.   It seems that his owner, who is ill, had not allowed anyone to help her look after him or give him the treatment he so badly needed.   Perhaps she didn’t want him to go outside because she feared he would be taken away from her if anyone saw his terrible condition.

So, what’s wrong with him?   He is very thin except for a huge ‘pot’ belly.   Looks as though he is full of worms.   (we wormed his straight away).   He can’t walk properly – his feet are deformed, the front hooves are like ‘slippers’, the hind hooves are even worse, he walks on the tip of his hooves and doesn’t seem able to put the sole of his feet to the ground.   These problems are caused in part because he hasn’t been allowed out to get any exdercise.    We have a very good farrier and our first call was to him, then it’s x-rays of his hooves to see what can be done.

Is that it?   No, sadly it isn’t.   Rufus is a stallion, he was never gelded as a youngster.   So, does this matter?   Yes and no.   He has an undescended testicle, probably this is why the operation to geld him never took place.   It can be done but it is major surgery, dangerous and is very expensive.

Because he is old and frail and unwell, he couldn’t be gelded at this late stage.   The problem is that stallions, even little ones like Rufus, are difficult with other ponies.   They want to get the girls in foal and fight with the boys.   The idea of eventually turning him out in the fields with the herd is unlikely to happen.  Perhaps we can find him a single pony friend he will get along with – ponies are herd animals and we don’t like the idea of a solitary life for him.  But we’re a long way off that – one step at a time and we have to tackle the other problems first.

pony - rufus hooves‘Slipper’ feet.

ponies - rufus 5

ponies - rufus on grassFreedom, fresh air and grass – that is so good.

 

rufus - hooves 3

He’s walking on the front of his hooves.

Hay and straw appeal Please help us feed the ponies

ponies - hay appeal 2

The ponies have had a good summer but now the grass is dying down and has little nutrition.   We’re feeding hay already and it’s more expensive than ever this year.  We have taken two more ponies in this year and both are doing well amd have put weight on   We give our horses and ponies a home for life and it’s all natural.  Ponies are herd animals and become attached to their companions (and us).

As soon as the weather worsens we’ll be fetching them in at night and we’ll need several tons of hay and straw to keep them going through the winter.  Most of our horses and ponies have come to us because of health problems and lameness so they need to have shelter and keep warm and dry.    Holly is elderly, Rhogan has arthiritis, Bridget is disabled, Chloe also is an old lady pony.  They will all stay with us all their lives.

Can you help us feed them?  Please check out our shop pages where you can buy them a bale of hay or straw – pay online and we’ll do the rest. It would be a tremendous help.  If you can sponsor a pony

If you’d like to sponsor a pony please get in touch – here’s a selection we have lots to choose from!

SPONSOR A PONY – CHOOSE ME PLEASE!

1. CHLOE -  an elderly bay mare and what a character

2. BRIDGET – a disabled youngster, pretty brown and white – very sweet

3. GRACE – a chestnut mare – lovely placid temperament

4.  PIXIE – a tiny tot – only 28 inches high!

5.  DAYDREAM – red and white with a beautiful long mane

6.  RUBY – a chestnut mare, the boss of the herd

A donation for a year’s adoption is much appreciated (online or if by cheque payable to Pet Samaritans) We’ll be happy to send you a photo, ‘your’ pony’s story and an adoption certificate – makes a great gift.

All these ponies are at the sanctuary and you can come and meet them at weekends between 11.0am and 3.0pm Saturday and Sunday.

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Your name:   ………………………………………

Addres:          ……………………………………..

Pony’s name and number:  ……………………………………

Donationn:   ……………………………………………..

If for a gift – Name:   …………………………………

Address to post to: …………………………………..

ponies - sundance 2

Thank you  xxx

Pony feet trimming

ponies-blacksmith 2

It’s time for a hoof pedicure and Sundance doesn’t mind, he lets the blacksmith pick his feet up and trim the overgrown hoof away.   If the ponies were roaming miles over different kinds of  ground they would wear their feet down naturally.  When they are in stables and grass fields, they need a bit of help.

The blacksmith comes approximately every eight weeks.   First of all he cuts the hoof off with a special farrier’s knife and then he rasps the hoof into a smooth round shape.   The important thing is to have the feet level, otherwise the pony would walk unevenly and that would put a strain on the legs and lead to lameness.

At the same time he checks for any signs of thrush, which is a condition where the foot goes soggy and becomes infected.   He’ll also check for bruises and corns (yes ponies get them just like us!) and also have a look at the coronet, which is the sensitive band of hoof where the hair growth ends.  Ponies can also get cracks and splits which potentially cause a lot of trouble.   These are often caused by poor nutrition -  again like our own nails when they become brittle.

All is well with our little gang, the big horses will be done next time he comes.   It’s essential to keep ponies feet in good condition – no foot, no horse as they old saying goes.

Ponies have a pedicure

Grace likes having her feet trimmed.   Ponies hooves grow all the time, just like human nails.   In a natural world they would get worn down as the ponies roamed for miles, but in the ponies domesticated lives and because they are mainly on soft ground, they have to have their feet trimmed regularly.   The blacksmith (or farrier as he is sometimes called) comes every six to eight weeks to trim the ponies hooves.

They all patiently wait their turn.   Grace was first today and, as usual, was well behaved.   The blacksmith scrapes out the underneath of the hoof and checks it for signs of injury, trapped stones or thrush.   This is a disease of the ‘frog’ which is the middle part of the hoof and which acts as a cushion.   There is a lot of weight constantly going on the hoof, even with a little pony like Grace who is only 32 inches tall.

When the underneath of the hoof has been cleaned, the blacksmith has a look at the outer hoof.   He rasps it round the edges to make sure that it’s growing evenly and that the pony will stand ‘square’ on it.  If the hoof is out of balance then the horse or pony won’t be able to walk properly.   An odd shaped hoof can lead to lameness.

Chloe was next and even though her feet were trimmed last time they were ready again for a re-shape.   Her feet must grow a bit faster than the others!    Chloe is used to having a pedicure and is no trouble at all.   When ponies aren’t used to it they can be difficult to handle and sometimes kick.   Being a blacksmith can be a dangerous occupation but they are experienced and know how to calm a frightened pony.

Getting young horses used to having their feet picked up is essential from a very early age.   A little foal needs to be taught that it doesn’t hurt although it might feel a bit strange to begin with.    We never put shoes on our horses unless it is for medical reasons.   Occasionally we have ponies with injuries or poor hoof structure or laminitis, which is fever in the feet.  Putting a light horse shoe on can make them more comfortable.    You can buy boots for horses and these are useful too, although they’re expensive and inevitably they lose them in the field.

Our only problem pony this time was Bridget, who isn’t as used to having her feet trimmed as the others.   She fussed and stamped and then gave in gracefully.   Well, she isn’t called Bridget the Fidget for nothing!

It costs £20 per pony for hoof trimming – the mini-pony club are all sorted for now – it’s the turn of the medium sized ponies next and then the ‘biggies’ the week after.   Any help towards horse care would be greatly appreciated.   Can you sponsor one of our rescued ponies?   Our adopt-a-pony scheme helps us to look after them.   We’ll send you a photo, their story, adoption certificate and a Pet Samaritans Badge.   Just let us have your name and address (or recipient if it’s a gift) and choose your pony from the Mini-Pony-Club pages, we’ll send your pony pack straight out.

 

Meet Ruby in our Mini Pony Club

Ruby Mini Pony at the Sanctuary

Mini pony Ruby has been in the sanctuary for nine years, when she was rescued she was in foal and eventually gave birth to a beautiful daughter, who we called Daydream.  Horses are in foal for 11 months and it seems to go on forever!

Ruby is the sweetest little pony lady ever, we have never seen her ears go back and she is quiet and gentle with the rest of the herd.   Most of all she loves her daughter and even though Daydream is grown up they are still inseperable.   Where Daydream goes, Ruby isn’t far behind.   These two loving ponies eat together and share a stable, there would be trouble if we put them in separate loose boxes.

Ruby is bright red chestnut and is neat and trim, she’s approx. 32 inches tall so she is still a tiny pony.    When the blacksmith comes to trim her feet, which is every four to six weeks, she is well behaved.   None of the ponies like having their teeth rasped when the equine dentist arrives, but she doesn’t make a fuss about it.

Ruby enjoys food but doesn’t quarrel over it.    Her best friend is her daughter Daydream, next best is Grace, who is the same colour and similar temperament.   What do they gossip about?    What the boys are getting up to?   Where the youngsters are?   And what’s for tea?

Ruby at the Pet Samaritanstext here

Meet Bibby in our Mini Pony Club

Bibby Mini Pony at the Sanctuary

Bibby is a very beautiful piebald mini pony – that means that her colouring is brown and white.   Bibby was in foal when she came to us but sadly it all went wrong and her foal wasn’t born alive.   Bibby was devastated and it took a long while for her to get over the loss.    We didn’t know whether to let Bibby have another foal but she had such a hard time that we’ve been apprehensive of things going wrong again.   On the other hand, she was obviously going to be such a good mother with strong maternal instincts.   Maybe one day……

Bibby is 33 inches tall and has a long thick mane of which she is very proud.  She loves having it groomed and this needs to be done often because she goes into all the long grass and gets sticky burrs on her hair.   She’s a patient little pony though and stands quietly while you pick them out.   She is lovely with people and the ponies she likes but she is a bit of a loner and there doesn’t seem to have any special friend.   Perhaps she likes her human friends best.

Meet Daydream in our Mini Pony Club

Daydream Mini Pony

Daydream was born at the sanctuary and is Ruby’s much loved daughter.  Her mum idolizes her and Daydream can’t do anything wrong where Ruby is concerned.   Not that Daydream ever does anything out of place anyway, her name suits her and she is easy going and laid back, even as a foal she was always gazing at a buttercup or looking at the sky, she was very placid.

Day Dream

Daydream is a cheerful little soul who enjoys life but at her own pace.   She somemtimes has a gallop round with the others when they are having a ‘mad’ few minutes, but she rarely starts the playtime races.

Daydream is about 32 inches tall and is beautifully marked, red and white with a very long flaxen mane.   She enjoys being groomed and is fine when the blacksmith comes.   She is a friendly pony and likes chatting to Sundance, Grace and baby Bridget.   There’s only one thing she doesn’t like – and that is being separated from Ruby.   Daydream will always be a mummy’s girl.

Meet Bridget in our Mini Pony Club

Bridget Mini Pony at the Sanctuary
Bridget (the Fidget!) only came in to the sanctuary last year.   She is the ‘baby’ of the herd and is one year old this May.   She is a real tiny girl, only 26 inches although she should grow a little bit more.   Bridget is mostly white with some tan patches on her head and body.

Here she is with best friend Sundance who helps look after her.   Bridget looks fine but she is a disabled pony and does have some problems.  She needs frequent visits from the blacksmith to keep her little feet in order.   He is trying to train them to grow properly as she was born with a hoof and leg that isn’t quite as it should be.

Does it slow her down though?   No way!   Just watch her trot round the field, she can keep up with everyone but is never very far away from her best pal.

Why Bridget the Fidget?   Just try and get her to stand still while she is being groomed.   She is always wanting to go somewhere else and do something different.    All the other ponies make a fuss of her and let her eat first and have her own way.    So, is she a bit spoilt then?   Mmm.  She is such a little pet – just a bit!   Give her a cuddle online anyone?

Meet Chloe in our Mini Pony Club

Chloe Mini Pony at the Sanctuary

She may look a bit wild but this foundation mare in our mini pony club is as gentle as they come.   Chloe had a dreadful start in life and was tied up without food or water when we first saw her.   She was emaciated and had no milk to feed the little foal at her side.    It was a long time before she was back to full health and her foal took even longer to recover.   Both of them made it though and Chloe soon transformed herself into herd leader.  Perhaps her desire to survive made her more determined.

Chloe has never been seen to chase off the other ponies but they somehow know she is the boss-girl and they always let her eat first.   When she is going somewhere, with her usual purposeful stride, they melt out of the way and then follow after.    With people she is good natured although she is not as demonstrative as some of the other ponies.   If you want to give her a titbit that is fine, if not, she’ll go and do something else.   A lot of the little ponies are really fussy but Chloe is more laid back.

Chloe is approximately 34 inches tall.    She is dark bay and at 14 years she is the second oldest in the mini pony club (Chester is 20 this year).    Who is her best friend?   It’s hard to say, there isn’t really anyone special she hangs about with, except perhaps Bridget, who she does fuss over because she is the baby.

Chloe is an independent pony who likes to do everything in her own way and in her own time.   That’s fine by us.

 

Meet Grace in our Mini Pony Club

Grace Mini Pony at the Sanctuary
She’s small and sweet and Grace is one of the gentlest ponies in our mini herd.   Grace is only 32 inches tall and is a bright chestnut with a beautiful flaxen mane and tall.    Grace is about nine years old but she will never be a herd leader, she is too quiet and doesn’t like to put herself forward.   Even when there is food around she waits her turn patiently and lets everyone else go first.

Grace little pony Grace likes to look good and being groomed is something she really likes.    First we brush her all over with a ‘dandy’ brush which has longish bristles.   Then we go over her coat again with a ‘body’ brush which gives a smooth shine.

   Grace has a beautiful mane but sometimes it gets so long   we have to trim it so she can see where she is going!   We never actually cut the length though as her hair is her crowning glory.    In winter it keeps her warm, in the summer months we might plait it to keep it out of the way and help her to stay cool.

Grace is friends with all the other ponies in the herd and especially likes Sundance, who is the same colour.

Grace waits patiently till it’s her turn to be brought in.   What does she like to eat?    Her best food is Happy Hoof, which is a mix of chopped hay and pony nuts.   She loves apples and carrots and a polo mint occasionally as a special treat.

Her best friends are Sundance and Ruby.   What doesn’t she like?   Being separated from the herd and having her teeth rasped when the dentist comes.