AIMS OF THE SANCTUARY
“To rescue and provide care for and prevent cruelty
and suffering among horses and ponies that are in need of attention by reason
of sickness, maltreatment, ill usage or other like causes and to provide temporary
or permanent homes for such horses and ponies.”
We take in horses of all ages, from orphaned Dartmoor foals
to retired racehorses. We assess and evaluate each horse individually according
to its needs. Once we are happy we know the needs of a particular horse, we
make a decision as to whether it can be rehomed. Sadly, some of our horses
cannot be rehomed for various reasons – some have severe behavioural problems,
others need specialist veterinary care, and some are infirm or elderly.
We try to rescue any horse or pony in need, but in the Westcountry,
Dartmoor foals are those most at risk and they account for a large number
of the equines that we take in. These poor little foals have little value
(a few years ago, they couldn’t even be given away, but a minium price of 8 guineas has reently been installed but sometimes they fail to even make that amount) and the majority are destined for slaughter, yet some of those
we have rescued have gone out on loan and are winning prizes in shows.
This problem is further increased as some well- meaning people will buy a foal without realising the costs and work involved in looking after them. In one memorable week, six Dartmoor foals were found abandoned on a rubbish tip following that year’s drift.
With kindness, care and knowledge, most ponies can lead happy
When rehoming, we give priority to local homes in Devon, UK. As we are a
small, regional charity and we check the horse every three months, it costs
us too much to be able to travel too far afield. We perform a homecheck before
the horse arrives, to ensure the home is suitable. We check the basic requirements
– grass, water, shelter, secure fencing, companionship – and we also ensure
the carer has sufficient knowledge and time to look after a horse. When we
are happy with the home, the carer can then collect the horse. We keep in
touch via telephone and ensure the carer knows they can call us with any queries
or problems they have. After three months we visit the home and check the
horse is well, and make sure the carer is happy. Regular checks follow.
Every day (including bank holidays and weekends!) we have the normal routine
to most stables for those horses we are looking after – feed, groom, muck
out. We also school those horses that require further training, some need
to be readjusted to humans after years of neglect and abuse, and some need
special care due to injury or old age. We also have the mundane but necessary
chores of checking the fencing, cleaning the yard, general field and stable
management and maintenance etc.