The Mare & Foal Sanctuary today called for a rethink on the management of Dartmoor’s beleaguered pony herds following a resounding “No” from the public to eating horse meat.
Nearly three quarters of people answering a recent Devon newspaper online poll said the ponies should not be eaten, despite an announcement by the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association that it was to begin promoting the meat from its own herds.
We have always called for better breeding controls to prevent any need for the slaughter of young ponies and believe they are companion animals like cats and dogs.
And we have worked tirelessly for the last 25 years to make sure every one of the horses and ponies we rescue, rehabilitate and retrain has the chance to lead a useful life.
Ponies like Revelation, who has transformed the life of his young rider Izaak Davis (9) from Truro in Cornwall.
Revel was born at the Sanctuary nearly 10 years ago after his pregnant mother Ruby was found in a terrible condition following the annual round-up or Drift.
Ten years on and Izaak’s proud mum Jacci said the pair had recently won a clutch of rosettes for show jumping and dressage at Pony Club camp.
She said: “He’s such a lovely pony and he and Izaak have such a great relationship. They’re real buddies and look out for each other.
“He’s also been great for Izaak’s confidence. It’s a big commitment and responsibility and you have to be really patient training a young horse. I tell Izaak it’s a real achievement when you’re not starting out with the perfect pony, but making one.
“Revel is now a part of the family and I’m so proud of them both. Dartmoor Hill Ponies are lovely animals and I’m so grateful that Revel is a big part of our lives.”
Inca was completely unhandled when he arrived at the Sanctuary ten years ago – saved from slaughter at another Devon sale.
After months of gentle handling, rehabilitation and training he’s now the beloved pony of youngsters Matthew (7) and Poppy (5) Dayment.
Their mum Sarah, from South Brent in Devon, said: “He’s been a brilliant first pony and the children love riding him.
“He is great fun and they are all active members of the South Devon West Pony Club. They take it in turns to ride him.
“He’s a really good example of how these ponies can go on to make great first rides. He’s unflappable and I always feel safe when they’re on board.”
We currently have more than 20 horses and ponies that are ready to be rehomed and a total of 150 being retrained and cared for at the charity’s five Devon farms.
The Sanctuary retains the ownership of all the ponies and horses we rescues and there are currently more than 170 on loan – many of them Dartmoor Hill Ponies.
Managing Director Simon Avery said: “They are such beautiful, willing and versatile ponies and they deserve so much better.
“We have seen them become best friends to dozens of children over the last 25 years and we will continue to work hard to make sure they are saved from slaughter and go on to lead useful and happy lives.”
Anyone considering adopting or loaning one of our ponies should click the Rehome a Horse tab at the top of this page.