Rescued ponies named after “Poldark” characters

Introducing Ross Poldark, named after the lead character in the BBC television series filmed on Bodmin Moor. Photo: Redwings
Introducing Ross Poldark, named after the lead character in the BBC television series filmed on Bodmin Moor. Photo: Redwings

The British equine charity Redwings is praising the team effort which led to the weekend rescue of three ponies from Bodmin Moor.

The stallion, mare and foal have been dubbed the “Poldark Ponies” by the charity, with each named after characters from the resurrected television series, Poldark.

The charity says the stallion, mare and foal were rescued over the weekend from the very spot where parts of the hit BBC television series were filmed.

“They had been running loose on Bodmin Moor and all were starving and in urgent need of veterinary intervention, feed and proper care,” it says.

“No owner has come forward for any of them.”

The dark bay stallion, now named Ross Poldark, was found in the Craddock Moor area in a very dire state; very thin and with a body condition score of 0.5.

He was described as extremely weak and Lorna Stevenson, the Animal and Plant Health Agency veterinary officer who authorised the ponies’ removal, stated she believed he would almost certainly die without immediate help.

Meanwhile, a mare found in the Pensilva area and since named Demelza after the wife of Poldark, was also in serious danger, with a body condition score of just 1. She had a foal at foot who is thought to be between seven and 10 days old. She has been named Julia after Demelza’s new baby daughter in the series.

Demelza was rescued with her foal Julia, both of which were found in an extremely poor condition. Photo: Redwings
Demelza was rescued with her foal Julia, both of whom were found in an extremely poor condition. Photo: Redwings

All three ponies were moved to a nearby yard for urgent veterinary intervention.

The rescue efforts were led by Julie Dowton, secretary of the Bodmin Moor Commoners and the Association of Bodmin Moor Commons Landowners, and the lead for welfare issues.

“Just like the ‘real’ Poldark, our little pony Ross bears the scars of battle. He also has lustrous brown locks, and although he is very thin at the moment we hope he will one day have his rippling muscles too!,” she says.

“Demelza in the series is a scrawny little thing who is totally unloved until help comes along; what else could we call her? It’s amazing to think these ponies have walked in the very footsteps of their namesakes.

“It was an extremely tough few days but we are so pleased that this story has a happy ending.”

She offered her thanks to Stevenson for her efforts, and to the Pooley family who have offered to house the ponies, and to Redwings for their financial support.

Redwings’ head of welfare and behaviour, Nic de Brauwere, described the efforts of Stevenson and Dowton as absolutely astonishing.

“They respond to every welfare concern that gets reported to them on the moor, but often they will arrive to find the ponies have been moved on or there are various factors such as the poor weather or intervention by locals which means they are unable to catch them.

“In this case, yet again they worked tirelessly all weekend to ensure the safe removal of these ponies, who have now been moved to a place of safety where they received all the care they need and deserve.

“We must also thank those who have offered them safe housing and the demanding aftercare that they so desperately need, thank you for all you do.”

Redwings has recently been involved in consultation on the establishment of a Bodmin Moor Commons Council, the results of which will be released in a few weeks.

“Back in 2011 Redwings was involved in the rescue of 19 ponies from Bodmin Moor who had essentially been abandoned and were in a terrible state.

“Since then we have been working with the other authorities to try to improve the overall welfare standards and resolve issues like the lack of an established register for those who have grazing rights to the Moor, not to mention the completely indiscriminate breeding that goes on, but to be honest it’s been an uphill battle.

“The teamwork shown over the weekend to rescue these ponies only serves to demonstrate how effective we can be when we all work together. However, the ponies should never be allowed to get into this state in the first place. We believe an established council made up of representatives from the commoners, local vets and other interested parties who have the authority to take action on issues like these, could make a real and lasting difference to the welfare of the ponies on Bodmin.”

The charity, which offered financial support to the rescue, praised to local vets, farmers and the Bodmin Moor Shadow Commons Council for their efforts, which has resulted in the safe and successful operation.

Redwings will provide updates on the ponies on its website. Those wanting to donate towards their care can text RWHS00 followed by the amount they would like to give (eg ‘RWHS00 £5’) to 70070. They can also donate here.

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