A herd of 40 welsh ponies taken in by rescue charities late last year after the sudden death of their owner has highlighted how equine welfare groups often pull together to help horses in need.
World Horse Welfare was contacted about the ponies late in 2021 and it quickly became clear that the owner’s distraught family was unable to take on their day-to-day care. But the family was concerned for the ponies’ welfare and keen to do the right thing for them and consequently signed them over into the charity’s care.
Finding space to take in 40 ponies at once is a huge challenge and so through NEWC (National Equine Welfare Council), World Horse Welfare began immediately to liaise with other animal welfare charities to arrange suitable accommodation. In December, World Horse Welfare and Horses and Ponies Protection Association (HAPPA) worked together to round up the Welsh Mountain Ponies from the farm in North Wales and, after a vet had checked that they were fit to travel, their journeys began.
World Horse Welfare was able to take in 14 at its Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre near Blackpool. HAPPA took in six ponies, and two other charities stepped in to house the remaining ponies, with five going to Bransby Horses and the remainder to Blue Cross. One pony was rehomed directly to a friend of the family.
World Horse Welfare Field Officer Rae Andrews said cases involving large numbers of horses or ponies are unfortunately frequent, and always pose a logistical problem to find spaces to take them all in at one time.
“The fact that we were able to find places for them is testament to the way all the different organisations involved through NEWC work together. This case also highlights the importance of considering that difficult thing: ‘What will happen when we are no longer there?’ and making plans for the provision of your animals once you are gone.”
HAPPA Equine Inspector Tracy Heaton said working in collaboration is key to getting the job done. “The task involved in the round up of large groups can be extremely challenging and is reliant on a knowledgeable, proficient team working in harmony with each other; likewise, HAPPA equally works with World Horse Welfare calling on their resources to assist us on equine operations where necessary.”
She said the six ponies had settled into HAPPA’s Rescue Centre, Shores Hey Farm, where they will continue on a Rehabilitation Journey, learning to interact and socialise.
Maria Kavanagh, Manager at Blue Cross animal rehoming centre in Rolleston, Staffordshire, said the family did the right thing in getting help for the welsh ponies. “No owner should find themselves abandoning horses when they can no longer cope as charities will always offer support whenever possible. Eleven geldings went to our Burford Centre and a mare and foal are with the Rolleston team and will soon be looking for loving new homes.”
All the 14 ponies at World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm are now well on their journey towards rehabilitation. They are becoming used to being handled and can be seen by visitors to the centre. It is also believed that some of the mares are pregnant, so the team at Penny Farm is expecting some more pint-sized ponies to be born in the coming months.
The aim for each pony at World Horse Welfare is that when they are fit and ready they will be rehomed.
Rehomers receive an honest assessment of their chosen horse and their capabilities, as well as ongoing support and the reassurance that if their circumstances change, the rehomed horse can be returned to World Horse Welfare.