‘Poldark ponies’ of Bodmin Moor are safe at last

We extend our praise to local vets, farmers and the Bodmin Moor Shadow Commons Council for their amazing team effort following an operation to rescue a group of ponies over the weekend. Redwings offered financial support to the operation, which has resulted in the safe rescue of three ponies from the Moor including a tiny foal. They have since been named after characters from the series Poldark.

A stallion and a mare and foal were rescued over the weekend from the very spot where parts of the hit BBC television series Poldark was filmed. They had been running loose on Bodmin Moor and all were starving and in urgent need of veterinary intervention, feed and proper care. No owner has come forward for any of them.

RossPoldarkafterrescueThe dark bay stallion, named Ross Poldark by his rescuers, was found in the Craddock Moor area in a very dire state; very thin and with a body condition score of 0.5. He was extremely weak and Lorna Stevenson, the APHA Veterinary Officer who authorised the ponies’ removal, stated she believed he would almost certainly die without immediate help.

Meanwhile, a mare found in the Pensilva area and since named Demelza after the wife of Poldark in the television series, was also in serious danger, with a body condition score of just 1. She had a foal at foot who is thought to be between seven and ten days old – she has been named Julia after Demelza’s new baby daughter in the series.

All three ponies have been moved to a nearby yard where they are receiving urgent veterinary intervention.

DemelzaandJuliaonMoor1The rescue efforts were led by Julie Dowton, Secretary to the Bodmin Moor Commoners and the Association of Bodmin Moor Commons Landowners, and the lead for welfare issues. She said: “Just like the ‘real’ Poldark, our little pony Ross bears the scars of battle. He also has lustrous brown locks, and although he is very thin at the moment we hope he will one day have his rippling muscles too!  Demelza in the series is a scrawny little thing who is totally unloved until help comes along, what else could we call her? It’s amazing to think these ponies have walked in the very footsteps of their namesakes. It was an extremely tough few days but we are so pleased that this story has a happy ending. Big thanks to Lorna Stevenson VO for all her hard work, to the Pooley family who have offered to house these poor ponies, and to Redwings for their financial support to help us get these ponies away from danger.”

Our Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere said: “Lorna and Julie in particular have been absolutely astonishing. They respond to every welfare concern that gets reported to them on the Moor but often they will arrive to find the ponies have been moved on or there are various factors such as the poor weather or intervention by locals which means they are unable to catch them. In this case yet again they worked tirelessly all weekend to ensure the safe removal of these ponies, who have now been moved to a place of safety where they received all the care they need and deserve. We must also thank those who have offered them safe housing and the demanding aftercare that they so desperately need, thank you for all you do.”

We have recently been involved in a current DEFRA consultation on the establishment of a Bodmin Moor Commons Council, the results of which will be released in a few weeks.

Nic continued: “Back in 2011 Redwings was involved in the rescue of 19 ponies from Bodmin Moor who had essentially been abandoned and were in a terrible state. Since then we have been working with the other authorities to try and improve the overall welfare standards and resolve issues like the lack of an established register for those who have grazing rights to the Moor, not to mention the completely indiscriminate breeding that goes on, but to be honest it’s been an uphill battle. The teamwork shown over the weekend to rescue these ponies only serves to demonstrate how effective we can be when we all work together. However the ponies should never be allowed to get into this state in the first place. We believe an established Council made up of representatives from the Commoners, local vets and other interested parties who have the authority to take action on issues like these, could make a real and lasting difference to the welfare of the ponies on Bodmin.”

Keep an eye on our website for updates on the progress of the Poldark ponies, and if you would like to donate towards their care please text RWHS00 followed by the amount you would like to give (e.g. ‘RWHS00 £5’) to 70070 or CLICK HERE TO DONATE.