Ponies thriving in care a year on from horror rescue

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Ribble and Nidd with their new owner, Yvette Carlton.
Ribble and Nidd in Wales with their new owner, Yvette Carlton. They are companion ponies to a riding horse. The pair were among 43 rescued from Wellingborough. © Blue Cross

More success stories have emerged just over a year on from the rescue of a group of 43 fly grazed ponies from flooded land in Wellingborough, North Northamptonshire.

Some of the abandoned ponies during the massive rescue operation at Wellingborough. © Blue Cross

The Blue Cross took in 11 of the ponies at its animal rehoming centre in Rolleston. All are now healthy and most are in happy, caring homes.

The ponies were part of a multi-agency rescue effort in February 2020. It is understood that they had been dumped in the area for unauthorised grazing. The landowner was able to seize the horses with the help of the RSPCA under the Control of Horses Act. The owners could not be identified as the ponies were not microchipped.

Several horses at the site were found dead, and most of the survivors were very thin, covered in fleas and lice and had little, if any, experience of being handled.

Whilst at Blue Cross, the ponies all needed intensive work to help them get used to humans and being handled and the team at Rolleston spent every day encouraging the ponies accept human touch. The ponies were slowly introduced to allowing handlers to put a headcollar on them, be groomed and have their feet handled.

Some learned quickly, but others took several weeks and even months. One particularly nervous pony, Dove, is still undergoing training to have her feet picked up for the farrier and vet checks. She has been at the centre for over a year and remains so frightened she can only lift one of her feet. Her groom is working hard to gain her trust with this in preparation for a home. The team suspect she had previously been handled badly or even abused.

Authorities found 43 abandoned ponies at the Wellingborough site.
Authorities found 43 abandoned ponies at the Wellingborough site. © Blue Cross

Verity Anderton-Johnson, Rehoming Co-ordinator at Blue Cross said: “All of the ponies were in such a sorry state when they came into our care. We are used to helping abandoned, nervous ponies but to have so many all at once it was another level. It makes us so happy to see them come out of their shell and be able to go to their first real loving homes.”

The success stories include:

Bunny and Hipper.
Hipper has been rehomed as a non-ridden companion to a lovely home. Her foal, Bunny, was weaned and has found a new home as a youngster together with Bumbleebee, another foal born during lockdown also since weaned. When they are old enough they will be trained to be riding or driving ponies. © Blue Cross

Tweed (Bumblebee’s mum) arrived with bad liver damage and is currently under veterinary treatment for ulcers at Blue Cross in Burford, Oxfordshire.

Blythe has been rehomed as a companion pony.

Eden and River.
Eden and River. Eden, Soar, River and Victory were all rehomed together. River and Victory will be trained when they reach four years old to become driving ponies and their mums Eden and Soar will be long-term companion ponies. © Blue Cross

Nene has gone to be backed in a home as a riding pony.

Cole has found a new home where he will continue to learn to trust people and be trained.

Arun has been rehomed and when she is four will start training to become a driving or riding pony.

Dove and Rainbow.
Dove and Rainbow. Rainbow has been weaned and will go to a home where she will continue to learn and potentially become a riding or driving pony. © Blue Cross

 

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