In this week’s Lockdown Diaries, we’ll be taking a look at some of the challenges our unhandled moorland equines face during their rehabilitation and how our specialist team at our Yelverton Sanctuary help ponies like Sprite to overcome them.
Sprite, a Bay moorland mare, was born in 2011 and when she arrived at the Sanctuary, she was completely unhandled and very fearful of human contact. Sprite had spent many years living on the moor and this can make the adjustment to domestic life a little harder. Even the crow of a pheasant could make her feel anxious and affect the progression of her rehabilitation.
At our Yelverton Sanctuary, in the heart of Dartmoor, Sprite lives within a herd of older ponies who all have had difficulty with being in the company of people – this is what our team at our Yelverton Sanctuary specialise in and are experts at training ponies who need more time and patience.
Sprite’s rehabilitation training has slowly progressed and thanks to her expert grooms she can now have a head collar put on and is happy to be led to the fields. For ponies like Sprite, our grooms have to take it one day at a time, making sure she is happy each step of the way.
We hope that these ponies will have the chance to find a home with one of our Sanctuary at Home Carers in the future, but we know this is a long way off. Ponies like Sprite are given as much time as they need to become comfortable within the company of people and some may stay in our peaceful sanctuary for life.
During lockdown Sprite has reached another milestone in her rehabilitation journey. She recently developed a weeping wound on her jaw and our knowledgeable grooms immediately sought veterinary advice. Sprite was given two courses of anti-biotics and although the wound has started to improve, the medication has not had the significant effect that we would have expected. Sprite will need to have x-rays to help discover the extent of the problem. This will take place in the safety of our sanctuary, but it will be a new experience for Sprite.
Our grooms have begun some training to help Sprite prepare for her x-rays. This includes holding a plastic board near her head, an additional person holding a large object to mimic the X-ray machine and getting her used to artificial lights by using a torch.
Although Yelverton is always a relatively quiet yard, during the lockdown it has been even more peaceful than usual. This has really supported Sprite and her herd, and they have made significant progress during this time. Sprite will continue her training alongside her best friend Spirit while she waits for her X-ray results in the coming weeks.
With your continued support we can ensure ponies like Sprite have lifelong care in the safety of our peaceful sanctuaries, where their every need is met to the highest standard by our specialist teams. During these challenging and uncertain times, your support helps us to continue to provide crucial veterinary care to horses and ponies like Sprite. We simply couldn’t do it without you.