In November 2019 a total of 137 horses were signed over to horse charities after concerns were raised about the condition of some of the horses. The Sanctuary took in 15 very young colts as part of the multi-agency rescue led by the RSPCA in conjunction with World Horse Welfare, Redwings, Bransby Horses, The British Horse Society, The Horse Trust, Blue Cross and The Donkey Sanctuary. When the ponies arrived they were weak, malnourished and appeared very dull. They were dirty, covered in faeces and the neglect they had suffered was clear to see.
The herd were given a thorough health check and we discovered that the ponies had a severe worm burden. Test results indicated that a number of the ponies had significant liver damage, likely to have been caused by the absence of suitable forage, lack of nutrition and early separation from their mothers. It is believed these vulnerable foals were separated from their mothers at approximately one to two weeks old. Following the isolation period, the ponies were given the all clear when test results showed they were free of disease and we were delighted when they were able to move to our rehabilitation yard, Honeysuckle Farm. The ponies were given plenty of time to graze, grow and put on condition in the safety of our peaceful sanctuary.
With the transformative care provided by our knowledgeable grooms and the implementation of a nutritious diet, the young colts soon began to appear brighter and their health greatly improved.
Following their recovery, they began their training in preparation for the opportunity to find a loan home with one of our Sanctuary at Home carers. Our grooms helped them to feel safe in the company of their handlers and introduced them to all aspects of routine care, such as visits from the farrier and vet, wearing a rug, being handled and groomed, having their feet picked up, meeting other ponies, practicing to load in the lorry and going out for walks and seeing traffic.
All 15 ponies were colts which means they all had to be castrated before they could potentially find a loan home. The castration surgery took place within our sanctuary which prevented them becoming stressed and meant they were able to undergo the procedure in a familiar environment, where they felt safe in the company of their grooms.
The youngsters will now have safety for life at the Sanctuary and many have been rehomed through our Sanctuary at Home scheme.