Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s work to help the horses of Bodmin Moor continues as they offer a home to seven in need of rescue.
During a two-day operation – Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016 – Redwings offered further assistance to the Bodmin Moor Commons Council by helping with the round-up and rescue of 14 ponies; seven of which were transported to Redwings, comprising a lone elderly Shetland mare, a mare and foal, and two pairs of siblings. The remaining seven were rehomed to local Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary.
The rescue was carried out with the support of APHA Veterinary Officer Lorna Stevenson, RSPCA Inspector Jonathon Phipps and Julie Dowton of the Bodmin Moor Commons Council, together with Redwings Senior Field Officer Julie Harding and Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere. All seven ponies are now in Redwings’ permanent care and are receiving treatment at one of the charity’s Norfolk sanctuary farms.
“Each of the ponies also has their own story of suffering to tell. One of particular concern was a chestnut foal rescued with his mother who had previously been found by a local farmer with his leg trapped between two boulders.”
This rescue operation comes just two months after Redwings assisted with a large scale, multi-agency round up in April in which 22 horses were removed from Eastmoor and offered homes by local welfare organisations. Another round up was carried out in May, where 18 horses were removed with eight rehomed to Lincolnshire-based Bransby Horses, eight to Shires Holt and the remaining two offered a home at a local farm.
“Native ponies have found life on some areas of Bodmin Moor extremely challenging this past winter and into spring,” continued Nic. “As well as the consequences of relentless rain affecting grass growth and grazing, we have seen an increase in ponies affected by high worm burdens; a lack of frost has allowed parasites that would otherwise have been killed off by freezing temperatures to thrive.
“Overstocking is also causing catastrophic effects to welfare on some commons. There are simply too many horses, and mares and foals are being caught in the cross fire of stallions fighting.”
Redwings has been supporting welfare work on the Moor for many years, with Nic at its helm, and sees real hope in the Bodmin Moor Commons Council (which was established in March this year) for ensuring long-term change to the welfare of ponies.
“We are planning a three-day operation for autumn this year to help the Council microchip and passport horses,” explained Nic. “Formal identification of horses will ensure those with grazing rights can do so and those who do not can no longer view the Moor as a dumping ground – which has exacerbated the issue of overstocking.
“By working with both the Council and the commoners, we can help ensure owners are aware of and adhere to their responsibilities for the health and wellbeing of their horses; that is, not only in controlling breeding through gelding and prevention of parasite infestations, but also in ensuring their ponies can be handled to receive veterinary intervention should they need it.
“Native ponies on Bodmin Moor should be allowed to thrive in their natural environment, but they cannot do this alone – that is, without effective management of the Moor and timely interventions as required by the ponies.”
Commenting on the recent intakes and Redwings involvement on the Moor, Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “We’re delighted to have offered a home to the seven ponies recently removed from the Moor, but their ongoing care will not be straightforward. As well as being in poor condition, they’re all incredibly nervous of people and will require a very patient approach, drawing on all the skills of our specialist behaviour team.
“Our ongoing work to help the horses of Bodmin Moor will take time and patience too – the issues that present themselves on the Moor are vast in both geography and history. We are therefore hoping people will get behind our work by supporting our ‘Moor for Horses’ campaign.
“We have partnered with ethical clothing company Rapanui to raise £6,000 through the sale of 100% organic cotton t-shirts, tote bags and tea towels, as designed by Cornish art company Whistlefish Galleries. All profits from the sale of each item will be donated to Redwings, so it’s a great way to support our work and help us do ‘moor for horses’.”
To support Redwings’ “Moor for Horses” campaign, head to www.justgiving.com/redwingshs to make a donation or redwingsmoorforhorses.teemill.co.uk to buy a t-shirt.