Saturday, 23 September 2017

Surprise Visitors!

The ponies enjoyed their surprise visit from Stephanie, Ray and Max this afternoon!  The boys had brought their wellies which was ideal for getting out into the field to meet the ponies - photos here with Arthur and Munchie!

Margaret's been busy making raspberry jam and redcurrant jelly, thanks to the generous donation of fruit from Sue and Nigel!  There'll be lots of people happy about that...and Margaret's getting ready for the Apple Fair and the Christmas Without Cruelty Festival!!

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Friday, 22 September 2017

Pony Summary Of This Week!

It was lovely to see Wolfie and Breeze on Tuesday - they are really enjoying the site they live on!  They had a hoof trim as it's a bit wet underhoof - not easy for them to trim their hooves themselves.  They have just a little bit longer on this patch whilst the weather is OK and then they move onto their winter pasture.

There's been lots of coverage in the local and national media this week about the "conservation" scheme to eat Dartmoor ponies (not surprising timing with market time coming up - also an effort to sell extra ponies at the market by appealing to people who will travel to pay to "save one" from the meat fate) - but hardly anything at all to reveal the real situation on the moor.

We are pleased to see that the Mare and Foal Sanctuary has been in the media today urging people NOT to eat or buy Dartmoor Pony meat - totally refuting claims it could save the breed.  We are also pleased to see that general media coverage has led to a surge in people finding our "Eat Ponies To Save Them..Yet Again" Blog post that I wrote after the Countryfile feature a few weeks ago - so hopefully people are better informed about what is really happening on the moors.

For those thinking about People4ponies calendars already...we should have 2018 calendars available for sale soon!  We couldn't produce them through Vistaprint this year and a local printing company are helping us to produce our next edition - to our usual high's under design at the moment, so watch this space!! 

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Saturday, 16 September 2017


Congratulations to Angela who today has arrived at John O' Groats on her round trip from Lands End and back!  We're so pleased she's made it this far, and so quickly too!  It's her third attempt at this mission after a mechanical failure on the last two occasions, and the last time she ended up camping for a month in the hope she could get back on the road again...but it wasn't to be.  Third time lucky Angela!!!

Angela's fundraising for P4P on her journey which we are very grateful for - thank you if you have donated to Angela - I think she's the first person to have undertaken a fundraising epic mission with P4P as one of the chosen charities!  Amazing!


Cilla and Paul said...
That's fantastic! - very well done Angela. What a brave and determined lady.
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Monday, 11 September 2017

Oh, Bobby!

I'm aware that at the end of last week the grass changed and autumn is now well and truly upon us...and the ponies are definitely more hungry...but I thought the ponies were getting plenty to eat!!  Bobby obviously thinks he's so hungry he could eat a whole haystack - there were full haynets available out in the yard!!  As Jenny pointed out, this was one occasion where I did have time to get my camera to capture the moment as Bobby was not likely to move anywhere in the between time!!

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Star's Adventure

Star and Topsy
Star had a little adventure of her own yesterday!  Of course we never have the camera to hand in such scenarios!

We had drifted the girls into the yard to work with them...but somehow I'd been distracted and forgot to close the gate into the boy's field.  I could see Star heading purposefully up that way and I was thinking "uh-oh...oops...too late now".  It doesn't really matter to mix the boys and girls but Topsy is a bit fragile in her old age and doesn't want to take part in charging about.  She's an amazingly wise pony, so although she went a short distance into the boy's field, once she could see ponies running about she came straight back to the yard where she knows we can keep her safe.  Star headed straight out very purposefully and had all the boys run towards her - surrounded by all 6, my goodness was this old lady perfectly in control of the whole situation!  Holding her presence and almost straight away gave Dan a good walloping, followed by Rocky...seeing this put Munchie, Arthur, Bobby and Frodo off completely and they instantly went back to eating.  So Star was perfectly in control of the lot of them.  Off she went exploring the field - finding that the grass actually isn't as green there as it is her normal side of the fence.  By the afternoon she was back in the yard of her own accord waiting to go back to join Topsy!  We never write off our ponies just because they are old!  Sadly it is so normal these days for ponies to be put to sleep just because of their age, but not at P4P - we love the spirit, character and wisdom of our older ponies!

You'll be pleased to hear that Angela is well on her way with her quadbike adventure - she's made it to Silverstone already so we hope that her journey continues to be stress and problem free!

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Friday, 1 September 2017

September's Here!

Somehow it's September already!!...and a new month brings a new calendar photo...a charge out to the promise of new grass...Rocky, Frodo and Bobby on a mission to get there first.  We love these action photos...and the sunshine the autumn often brings with it.

Sadly we won't be attending the Honiton Holistic Fair tomorrow as planned - a bit more recovery time is needed but we look forward to being back there again next year.

Good Luck to Angela who is braving a 3rd attempt of her round trip from Lands End to John O' Groats again.  We have our fingers crossed that this will be third time lucky for her!!

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Getting Back On Track...

Very shiny coat Mr Arthur!

Sorry for the delay in blogging everyone!  I'm afraid I managed to catch flu when I went to the Porlock event - which, of course, I hadn't foreseen at all - very frustrating to be ill for so long!  Margaret has been brilliant and has stepped up to make sure that we have kept on top of everything with the ponies at the yard.

When the flu was at its worst and volunteers were covering it seems that Topsy had another of her super adventures!  A young volunteer remembered to fill the field water trough and helpfully went off to do this.  When the trough was filled, they took the hose back out of the field (which was the right thing to do)...but they forgot to fasten the main gate!  The wind was coming from an unusual direction which meant after they had gone home for lunch, the gate blew open.  We had a phone call from a neighbour to say a worker had just driven down the road and had found a white pony loose up in the local village.  When he turned off to come down the lane, the pony stayed in front of him and eventually turned up our driveway.  Out we went...and found the field gate wide open with Topsy and Star grazing in the field, Topsy looking as innocent as ever, you'd never have even known she'd been out on far-flung adventures!  Another adventure for Topsy...she might be 36+ years old but she's still feeling as sprightly as ever!

Between us everything has continued to run smoothly...and Margaret even mastered the driving of one of the tractors.  John stepped in to shift a tonne of bedding which was delivered last week.   Archie's popped in occasionally to lend a hand.  Catherine came over to visit and brought some lovely "get better" dinner.  Oscar the dog has been trying to get Faye better as quickly as possible. Munchie had his hooves tidied last week thanks to Clive our trimmer.  (We'll have to post a Munchie update soon - he's going to have a full fantastic set of new hooves by Christmas)!

Are thoughts are with everyone in Houston, Texas being battered by the hurricane there - animal shelters now being flooded as the water levels rise even further.  Animal owners desperately trying to get their pets (both big and small) to somewhere safe.  There are amazing people volunteering to go out with their own boats to rescue animals in angels needed for all those in need of rescue.

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Two Super Ponies In Need of 5*, Loving, Secure, Knowledgeable Homes

Tonight we'd like to call on all our wonderful supporters to spread the word via social media/Facebook about 2 special ponies who are looking for homes ASAP.  

A riding school in our local area is having to close due to sad circumstances and there are two super riding ponies looking for 5* wonderful, loving, secure homes - this should be a wonderful opportunity for a family/families - there is limited time available for the ponies to stay at the facilities where they are currently so we need to share their profiles to find them their perfect homes asap.  We do not want them to end up with a dealer!  All the other ponies have been rehomed already.

The ponies are being offered privately and not through P4P - we have no extra room right now and ponies as super as this shouldn't need to end up in a rescue...riding school ponies are usually snapped up...and ridden ponies are usually not long stayers at rescue lets hope someone looking for a pony right now might be right for these two...Rosie and Gatsby.  They are being offered separately as I understand it - these are the details about them:  

Please share these two on social media and if you are serious about offering them a home and think you are their perfect new home please contact Jenny Hawkins on 01884 861187.

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Eat Dartmoor Ponies To Save Them....Yet Again!

Yet again there are going to be a lot of people very unhappy about the media coverage on BBC Countryfile of the "Eat Dartmoor Ponies to Save Them" campaign...with no real actual debate on the pony situation itself.  I do feel sorry for the Dartmoor Pony Society who have to permanently have a feature at the top of their website making clear that they have nothing to do the the Dartmoor Hill Pony associations/charities.  The owners of the true Dartmoor ponies are very passionate about their breed and it is the HILL PONY owners which are the ones which are promoting the meat scheme - this should be made clear.

There will be a lot of people who take issue with the same individual heading up both a charity/rescue centre for ponies and a slaughter scheme for them...and no mention of that was made by Countryfile at all!  If it had been the head/representative of The Donkey Sanctuary, The Dogs Trust, or Cats Protection League being interviewed for the same plans for their own respective species I don't think the subject would have been avoided!   

In the first half of the Countryfile feature it was claimed that the Hill pony breeders believe there is an alternative to killing...featuring contraception...and then the second half of the feature promoted slaughtering and eating...certainly not an alternative to killing.  What wasn't made clear is that ponies given the contraceptive have been promoted as being for the slaughter scheme  - that's why the new drug is being trialled rather than using existing contraceptives - because the intention is for ponies on contraceptive to be put through the slaughter scheme.  Research into finding a proven equine contraceptive drug that could stop or substantially limit breeding and avoid the need for culling/slaughter was not a route that was pursued by this organisation.  The chosen contraceptive drug comes from commercial use where it is used in pig farming – it is used in male pigs intended for slaughter to stop boar taint. In our opinion, the use of the drug on Dartmoor is not about preserving the ponies - it’s about trying to convince people it is acceptable to see ponies as a by-product and to keep stallions out on the moors. The impact of the drug on the moorland environment and on the ponies themselves is still unknown.  The scheme is not about giving a contraceptive drug and then not needing to shoot/slaughter.

The reason why the Hill ponies are worth nothing is that there are too many being bred and certain Hill Pony breeders refuse to remove their stallions from the moor - forcing everyone into breeding...which results in 700 unwanted foals EVERY year - exasperating.

The Dartmoor Pony Society called for stallion removal on Dartmoor for many years. The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust also offered to pay for all stallions living out on the moor to be vasectomised but the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association have fought against these management options. Each organisation does not actually have any general control over the pony populations - ultimately decisions come down to individual pony owners.

 All the breeding of the cows and sheep on Dartmoor by the same sets of owners that own the ponies is strictly controlled and does not happen on the moor!

There are native breeds of pony in the UK whose owners thankfully take much more of a strict line with their breeding and therefore keep up the value of their ponies.  At a meeting on Dartmoor earlier in the year, The Exmoor Pony Society made it very clear that they had very few animals travel for human consumption and they do not use their derogation, opting for all Exmoor ponies to be microchipped. There is certainly much for the Dartmoor breeders to take on board in this respect from Exmoor.

A report from the Fell Pony sale in Cumbria last year was most impressive.  Minimum bids were set at 100 guineas for colt foals, 150 guineas for filly foals.  On the day all ponies sold, even older mares that were wild off the fell - the oldest going for 120 guineas.  Colts averaged 325 guineas and fillies 670 guineas. (One guinea is approx. the equivalent of £1.05).  None went to unscrupulous dealers - they all knew they were going to be priced out so didn't even bother to turn up. 

The sad thing is that the Hill pony people (not all of them, but some, and a dominant force on the moor) think it is easier to convince a nation to eat horse meat than to actually take control of their pony herds.  They are the ones that de-value them.  One Hill pony breeder at the Dartmoor meeting proudly claimed that she spends no money on her ponies at all—they cost her nothing—and we have certainly seen cases where her ponies have suffered due to this! Whilst a pure bred Dartmoor pony keeper said that it costs a lot to care for her ponies!  

So there are a lot of issues here and as things currently stand we see very little hope for the pony situation on Dartmoor - overbreeding, culling and slaughtering of ponies is going to continue for some time to doesn't have to be like that...but for the moment, sadly, that is what the ponies face.

If you would like to read more about the issues and research into the ponies on Dartmoor there is a page that explains more on the P4P page Dartmoor Ponies

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Porlock Fair

We would like to thank Thea and everyone who we met at Porlock Fair today - we raised £100.60 on our stall and also enjoyed watching all the lovely dogs of all shapes and sizes who came to enjoy the day out.  Archie did a grand job of running the tombola with lots of tickets sold!

On the way home across Exmoor we spotted on the horizon these special ponies - mare and foal which was a lovely sight, even if it was only a glimpse....and what a lovely view they have to enjoy!

Meanwhile, Margaret and Jas had been looking after the ponies at the yard and making sure everything went smoothly there - it is such a luxury to come back and not have to do the pony chores at the end of a long day fundraising for the ponies!!

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