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Lola was starving and needed urgent care

Your support is vital to ensure we can provide a safe home to ponies like her. Can you please help?

Lola was starving when she was rescued alongside 17 equines from an unlicensed organisation known as Family Nest Therapy.

Our Welfare Outreach Manager, Rebecca, escalated the case to the RSPCA and took part in a multi-agency rescue over two days in summer 2022. This resulted in 13 horses and ponies in exceptionally poor condition coming into our care. It’s thanks to your support that this rescue was possible. 

Three neglected ponies next to a stable

“It was the worst case I’ve ever worked on”

Rebecca said: “It was the worst case I’ve ever worked on. I’ve never seen horses that thin before. They were lacking food, water and shelter in 27 degree heat. Lola was in such poor condition, I didn’t think she would survive. It’s a case that has really stuck with me.” 

On arrival at the sanctuary the horses and ponies were malnourished. They were suffering with overgrown hooves, lice, worm burdens and viral conjunctivitis. Many of them were also severely depressed which was upsetting. It was shocking to see, especially at a place which claimed to offer equine assisted therapy.

Sadly, Thoroughbred cross, Mollie was severely underweight and had an untreated injury to her tendons in her hind pasterns that led to the collapse of her fetlock joint, so we had to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep. It was the kindest choice we could make for her. 

We began to witness incredible recoveries…

Lola and Sherbert were covered in colourful paint from a recent children’s party. It’s incredibly disappointing that these ponies were being exploited in this way at a time when they were starving.

Over the coming months, our dedicated Sanctuary Care team nursed the 12 horses and ponies in our care back to full health. This was a huge task which took time, love and devotion, as well as a great deal of resources. Your support made it happen.

I want to donate and help even more horses and ponies


Body condition score on arrival at the sanctuary: 1 (Poor) 

Adorable Shetland mare, Lola, was starving when we rescued her. We didn’t know if she would survive. She was covered in colourful paint having been used for a children’s party. 

Our devoted Sanctuary Care team set to work immediately to make Lola more comfortable. Over the next few weeks and months, she underwent a remarkable transformation. She gained weight slowly and safely. Her sweet nature began to shine.  


Body condition score on arrival at the sanctuary: 1 (Poor) 

Shetland mare, Sherbert, was also underweight and covered in paint from a children’s party. In fact, we had to give her special medicated baths to remove the crusted paint and itchy lice she was suffering with. These baths helped to soothe her sore skin. Sherbert also needed the farrier to trim her overgrown hooves and the dentist to rasp her teeth.  

She gradually gained weight and was able to live out with her companions as she recovered. Sherbert will soon look for a loving loan home.  


Body condition score on arrival at the sanctuary: 1 (Poor) 

Shetland mare, Poppy, needed urgent treatment on arrival for a severe worm burden causing chronic inflammation. She also had scabs and cuts on her body, lice, overgrown hooves and painful dental issues.  

Poppy responded well to treatment and gradually put on weight. Our Sanctuary Care team are currently working hard to help her overcome her fear of needles which will make her life a little easier. 

Groom with brown pony

Justice for Lola and her friends

On the 29th of February 2024 the owners of Family Nest Therapy pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act at Truro Crown Court. They were sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and disqualified from owning animals for life. The yard manager also pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and disqualified from owning equines for 10 years.  

Ultimately, if we had not stepped in and instigated a rescue, these horses and ponies would have continued to suffer. With your support, lives were saved. It has been wonderful to discover the personality of each horse and pony as they have healed.

After 14 months recovering with us at the sanctuary, having fully regained their health, nine of the horses including Kahlo were rehomed to The Horse Trust due to our full capacity.  

The Horse Trust is based in the southeast of England and is also a National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) registered charity. We are pleased they could offer the horses and ponies a new home where they can continue to thrive.  

Sanctuary for life

Three beautiful Shetland mares, Lola, Poppy and Sherbert have remained under our care and will enjoy lifelong sanctuary here with us. Lola has recently moved to a new home with one of our amazing Sanctuary at Home carers, whereas Poppy and Sherbert remain at our Honeysuckle sanctuary for further training.

So please, if you can afford to, give a gift today to help horses and ponies in need. Your support is vital to ensure we can provide a safe home for them.