Looking After Horses

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Horses getting ready for summer

horses - rhoganThis is Rhogan who is one of our older horses – he’s over 20 and has been with us for many years.   Rhogan has had a thick woolly coat all winter but we know it’s Spring when it starts falling out – there are hairs everywhere at present.   We brush and curry (metal scraper) him every day to help the hair come out.  He likes being groomed, perhaps his thick coat is itchy.   Rhogan rolls a lot and this is to help his coat loosen.  There are patches of grey hairs all over the fields.   The birds love it when we brush him and fetch the soft hairs for their nests.

Gradually the old hair will be gone and Rhogan will have a smooth, shiny coat which will be a different colour.  He’s a strawberry roan horse and is almost white in winter and a rosy chestnut in summer.   We’ll be featuring Rhogan in our next newsletter, he’s a lovely old fella and a big softie!


rufus - with dallas 2Rufus will need lifetime care – It’s going to be a slow recovery, he is making progress but all the years of neglect have caused some lasting damage – his teeth, his feet, his ability to move around, his general health. He’s a cheerful and loving little pony though and worth every bit of the care we give him. So many ponies out there don’t get the chance of recovery. There is such a lot of cruelty in the horse world – at least this little one is safe.

You can help Rufus at FundRazr.com   Many thanks.

Pony updates

ponies - holly 2It’s a year since we took in Holly, an elderly pony with arthiritis.   She wasn’t a sweet old lady though, Holly had an attitude problem and was a grumpy pony, she’d give a sharp nip if you weren’t watching out.  Over the months Holly has been transformed, her health improved, aches and pains have gone and she is a different pony.  Now she has a happy face, she is able to run around with the others and we get pony-kisses instead of bites!  It’s all because we’ve treated her arthiritis naturally – and it’s worked.  What a difference a life free from pain makes.   She’s had freedom and exercise and companionship, life is good and so is Holly.   We’re putting the full story in our next newsletter – she’s having a party today so there’ll be pictures of that – and the carrot cake of course!

All are well in the mini pony herd.  Chloe is still looking after disabled pony Bridget (the fidget!), they are best friends and share a stable.  Ruby and Grace are still having to share, we need more stables.  Daydream and Pixie are both in small stables at night, we will need them for goats in the Spring but hopefully by then the weather will be better and the ponies can be turned out.

Pixie is having his hooves trimmed every four weeks, they grow wrong if this isn’t done.   Bridget also, because of her legs, has to have frequent trimming.   All the ponies have had their teeth checked and rasped when necessary.

They like breakfast before they go out, usually carrots and a handful of pony mix.   They won’t scamper off up the fields until they’ve had a feed.

ponies - sundance 4Grace and Bridget are usually first out……





Ponies like to run around in snow

ponies - ruby and daydream

The little ponies like to come out in the snow, they run around and play but then they are soon waiting to come back inside.  They know there is a feed waiting and a rack of hay, it’s warm inside and these little ones soon feel the cold.  A larger, plump and young horse will stand the cold much better but they can only tolerate bad weather for any length of time if they have many acres to roam in and lots of natural shelter.  If there is a wood and thick hedgerows, dips and hollows in the land and a stone barn then they will be alright.  They still need large bales of hay or haylage to feed on and bringing them in overnight is best.   These little ponies need to be in every night.  A quick chase round, a roll in the snow and that’s it – they want to be back inside.

ponies - haylage

ponies in snow

Horse and pony rescue and retirement

ponies - sundance 2Horses and ponies are under pressure.  We get calls every week telling us about problems and asking us to help.  We’ve taken two more ponies in recently, one small, the other medium sized.   The main difficulty people find is being able to afford to keep their pony.  Unless you have your own land you have to pay for livery which is rent for a stable and buying in of feed.   Sometimes we go out to see ponies who are in a terrible condition, it might be lack of knowledge and ignorance of correct horse care.  Horses and ponies need a lot of room to walk around and have natural exercise.  Keeping them in a tiny ‘play-pen’ paddock will only lead to long term problems.

If you have a pony you can’t look after or have an old-stager who needs a comforable retirement please get in touch, we’ll try to help if we can.  A donation is required, which helps with the care of our many horses.

New pony comes to stay

ponies - holly 2Holly is a elderly pony whose owners could no longer care for her, her place at livery had been lost and there was nowhere for her to go.  They did not want to have her put to sleep but it was rapidly becoming their only option.  When we heard about her plight we offered her a place in the sanctuary.   We never put any healthy pony to sleep and although Holly is an old lady, she is still fit and well and enjoying life.  Holly had been used to living with other ponies and we hoped she would fit in well with one of our small pony herds.

ponies - holly

Holly is approximately 11.hands high and is dark brown in colour.   We were told she could sometimes be a bit grumpy with people but was always friendly with other ponies.   However, she was on her best behaviour when she arrived and showed no sign of a temperamental nature.   We gave her a feed and it looked as though she was enjoying all the attention.

ponies - holly 3

She loves food and is well behaved while she is having her dinner.   We put her in a large loose box next to some of the other ponies, she can see them but they are not together.  They can have a gossip over the stable wall and that way they’ll get to know one another.When we turn them all out together we’ll see how they are going to get along.  Ponies are herd animals and ours are a tight knit community.   How will they treat a newcomer?   Is Holly going to bully them?  She is quite a bit bigger than them and size counts in the pony world.  Introducing a newcomer isn’t easy, we’ll take it slowly.

Mini ponies come back home

ponies - come home

Our mini ponies have been enjoying winter grazing away from home over the past few months – there’s nothing better for them than fresh grass!   Now it’s time for them to come home and  they seem very pleased to be back.  We have to hire a horse box as we don’t have one in the sanctuary – it would be wonderful to have horse transport of our own so it’s on our ‘wish list’.

We’ve not brought them all just four good friends – Ruby and Daydream, Grace and little Pixie.   He may be only 26″ but here he is first off and out there in front.ponies - come home 3Daydream had a good look round as soon as her hooves hit the tarmac, they all knew where they were within seconds.  

ponies - come home 4Off they go to the stables, no persuasion needed, they know the way.

ponies - come home 5The ponies have been together in the sanctuary since they were first rescued many years ago.  They range from eight to 15 years now.  Ruby is the deep chestnut one and the oldest.  Daydream is younger and a very pretty red and white.  Grace is bright chestnut with a flaxen mane and Pixie is the dark brown boy pony who is tiny, although he thinks he’s a big fella racehorse sometimes!

ponies - come home 6Is there a feed waiting?   We’ll be fetching some of the other ponies back in the Spring.

ponies - come home 7It’s so good to be home …..

If you’d like to adopt one of the ponies please get in touch.  Let us know which one – a donation helps us to keep them in clover and we’ll send you a photo, ‘your’ pony’s story and an adoption certificate.   Sponsors can come and meet ‘their’ mini friend on our monthly pony days – first Sunday in every month between 12.0noon and 2.0pm.

Dmations by paypal, donate button on site or cheque payable to Pet Samaritans please.


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.

Horse dentist checks on Japonica

horses - japonica teeth

All the horses in the sanctuary have regular check ups with the Equine Dentist and last week it was Japonica’s turn.   She is our oldest pony and it’s difficult to keep weight on her, she can’t eat hard food or hay and has to have a special diet.

The dentist puts a special bridge on so that the horse’s mouth can be kept open while she rasps down any sharp edges on the teeth.   There were several of these points on Japonica’s teeth, probably because she does not eat any hard food.   Even though her teeth were rasped it was not the end of Japonica’s problems.  As she has aged her jaw has altered and her teeth have become misaligned, so that is partly why she cannot chew her food as well as she ought.

Regular check ups will help, otherwise, there is nothing more that can be done unfortunately.  It’s keep on with the mashes and soft diet.  Japonica, at 37 years, is still fit and well and sound in her legs.   If only she’d looked after her teeth!

horses - japonica teeth 2

Japonica still has all her front teeth – her gums have receded with age though.   This is where the saying ‘long in the tooth’ comes from!

Japonica is a lovely, sweet natured pony – if you’d like to know more about her why not ‘adopt’ her – it costs only £12.00 per year and helps with her care.  We’ll send you an adoption pack, photographs, her story and updates.  Makes a great gift!

To adopt Japonica just send us your name and address (or name of recipient if for a gift).  We’ll send out an Adoption Certificate, photograph ready to frame and all about this lovely pony.   Pay by cheque, donation online or paypal.   Many thanks.

thank you horse

Our old pony wraps up warm






Japonica is our oldest pony and at 37 this year she is still in good health.   She likes to go out for a saunter round every day, no matter what the weather and exercise is good for her.   Keeping wrapped up warm is important though as old ponies lose body heat very quickly.  This is a great rug (thanks to Cadman Animal Feeds who so kindly donated it for her) and covers just about every bit of her.    Japonica is streamlined already and we have to feed her four times a day to keep her weight on.   The problem is that she doesn’t have many (any!) teeth.   This is what most old animals die from – when their teeth go – that’s it.   Unless they have someone to feed them soft and very nutritious food as we do with this lovely old girl.   Japonica has a sweet nature and is polite and gentle – she can still go a good gallop round the field when she wants to though.