New purpose built moorland rescue facility opens

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New purpose built moorland rescue facility opens

We have opened our new purpose-built rescue facility in Yelverton to help save horses and ponies struggling on the region’s harsh moorland. 

The new facility with land, stabling and offices, right on the edge of Dartmoor, allows our Yelverton team to specialise in the care and rehabilitation of semi-feral ponies. 

It will revolutionise the way we care for unhandled ponies, providing them with a safe environment to express natural herd behaviour – including special crew barns so they can lie down together.  

And neighbours living close to the new facility, as well as key donors of the project, were invited to a special opening ceremony to meet the Sanctuary’s rescue ponies and see for themselves the great work the Yelverton team is doing.  

Sanctuary Chief Executive Sarah Jane Williamson told guests: “Our rescued moorland ponies will be able to come straight here instead of being transported to Newton Abbot.  

“These ponies have had some of the roughest starts. Now they will receive the care, love and attention they deserve.” 

Work on the moorland rescue facility began under charity South West Equine Protection, which merged with the Sanctuary last year. 

Yelverton Head Groom, Abigail Alford-Thurlow, said: “I cried when we moved in here with the ponies. It’s such an amazing facility and everything we need is under one roof.  

“It’s going to be so much easier to look after our ponies here and it’s a much kinder, much more natural environment for them. They can remain in their herds with their friends.” 

Phase one of the new facility includes a shower and kitchen area for staff to stay overnight to look after a sick pony or young foal. 

Trustee Maureen Rolls, who founded South West Equine Protection, said the opening of the new moorland facility was a dream come true. 

She said: “Our staff work so hard for the ponies and it’s lovely to be able to reward them with such a lovely, purpose built, facility. 

“It’s also going to make a huge difference to the ponies in trouble on the moors. They are our top priority and now there is this wonderful facility just for them.” 

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Support Adoption for Pets and the Jean Sainsbury Animal Welfare Trust, we have been able to complete most of the main building work. 

Valerie Pike, of the Jean Sainsbury Trust, said: “We were not only impressed by the level of care the ponies will receive but also the Sanctuary’s plans to educate people on the care these wonderful animals need.”