When Mouse first arrived at the Sanctuary following a large-scale multi agency rescue on Bodmin’s East Moor, he was absolutely terrified. In fact, he was one of the most nervous ponies we’d ever worked with. If a leaf blew across the yard, he would be startled. This fear of the environment around him caused him a great deal of anxiety and every new situation he faced increased his stress levels.
In these cases, the rescue is just the beginning. It can take years of specialist care, gentle handling and confidence building to help these ponies move towards a happier and healthier future.
Mouse had been through so much before he arrived at the Sanctuary: desperate conditions on the moors, a major round up and rescue mission and months spent at a holding centre.
It all took its toll and increased his fear. It was upsetting to see how on edge he was. We were very concerned for his wellbeing. At this point we had to question whether we would be able to provide him with enough training to see progress and improve his quality of life.
Initially it was very difficult for anyone to get close to Mouse including our Sanctuary vet, Richard. This caused difficulties when it came to treating his medical conditions. For example, last year Mouse developed a problem with his eye. It turned out to be a painful corneal ulcer. The healing process was slower than expected and at times it was difficult to get close to Mouse.
In cases of trauma nothing can be rushed.
Mouse has been receiving care at our Sanctuary, Honeysuckle Farm, for several years now, but it’s only within the last few months in particular that we have seen a positive change in him.
Head Groom Terri has taken over his care and they have developed a strong bond. She use’s a very calm, consistent and gentle approach and this gives Mouse confidence. He looks to her for comfort and reassurance. He has even started to show her some of his quirky personality. He really enjoys a little tickle of his top lip! Terri can use her knowledge of his likes and dislikes to soothe him in situations he may find stressful.
Mouse can now be led to the nearby field with just one groom rather than two. Terri can also now touch Mouse’s front legs and most other areas of his body, which they practise most days.
It’s upsetting to think of what would have happened to Mouse if we hadn’t been able to step in.
Many more horses and ponies need our help
One of the ponies that arrived as part of the same rescue as Mouse is Bodmin Hill Pony, Sergeant. He is a little more relaxed and confident than Mouse. They have been friends since they arrived and their close bond helps them both to cope. For example, when they’re together in the field they can be approached more easily. We get traumatised ponies like Mouse and Sergeant used to being groomed by starting some grooming in the field where they can move away if they become nervous.