In the first instalment of The Lockdown Diaries, we’ll be meeting Wilma a 4 year-old Moorland Mare.
Wilma was just 4 months old when she was rescued in 2016, alongside 16 others who were all facing euthanasia. She had already been separated from her dam and due to this traumatic start to life, she became very defensive and often wouldn’t come to her grooms for food. Her behaviour was very unpredictable and we knew she would need a lot of time and patience.
When she first arrived at our Yelverton Sanctuary, our specialist yard for the rehabilitation of semi-feral ponies, Wilma was given the opportunity to live as naturally as possible to allow her time to get used to the new environment. It soon became clear that Wilma was a fiercely independent youngster and she was very hesitant to trust humans.
The rehabilitation process for a pony like Wilma is often long. Our experienced grooms develop tailored care plans for every pony we rescue. Since she arrived at the Sanctuary, Wilma has developed a strong bond with groom Lucy, which has been a real turning point for this young pony. Lucy’s calm but bold approach has given Wilma the confidence she needed and the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone knowing she could trust Lucy.
Throughout the pandemic Lucy and Wilma began weight bearing training with the help of a teddy bear in the hope that one day she could go out on loan to a knowledgeable carer to be backed by a small rider or in an active home for showing and agility.
Groom Lucy said: ‘From a pony that reacted aggressively to people approaching her she has come such a long way. Introducing the next steps in her training has been a very proud moment for me, being her handler from day one and remembering how terrified she was of people gives me such a heart-warming feeling to now see her flourishing and enjoying human contact.
Watching this pony grow in to such a trusting and giving mare reminds me of why I’m in this job there is no better feeling then seeing these ponies exceed. I cannot wait for the day Wilma finds a home.’
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our knowledgeable grooms, the possibilities are now endless for Wilma.