Saturday, 11 February 2017

Snow Ponies

We had snow showers this morning - although they lasted all morning they didn't settle - it was nice to see some snow but without any real extreme weather conditions!

Munchie's progressing well
with his rehab

Thank you to Roy for coming over to do some extra tractor work for us this afternoon - assisted by Archie in the yard too.  Margaret's been keeping the ponies stocked up with apples too which they really do appreciate!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Friday, 3 February 2017

Bodmin Update - East Moor

Some of our supporters have been asking for a Bodmin update and whether we think there will be problems with the livestock this year...

...Last Sunday (29th January) we went to the Common which we highlighted with our welfare blog last year - where at least 23 ponies died and 42 were seized in emaciated condition.  It is certainly the area of Bodmin that received the most this is what we found last on the photos to enlarge them.

The Environment...The weather last weekend on East Moor really helped to show how bleak and poor the environment is up there...this Common is only approximately 3 miles in area, which might sound like a big area but this is what the animals have to eat...

"The better area" - one of the "river" channels where the grass is a little better than on the higher parts

The higher areas - very wet and the
 vegetation is extremely poor

The marsh areas - and lichen on
 the trees

The skull of one of last year's dead ponies 
When there is a rare patch of green grass, it is so intensively
used, particularly by the cows, that they are turning into latrine areas.
 The Livestock...On the 29th we saw 3 herds of beef cows - approximately 75 cows.  One herd was being fed on the moor and we saw them running to meet the farmer.

On the opposite side to the fed herd were two herds of thin beef cows - we passed the photographs on to Trading Standards, who in turn informed Animal Health and the Commoners Council, who we were told would visit the following day.  These cows were still out on the moor on the 3rd February.  They are clearly not able to get enough sustenance to maintain their body weights - as the photos show - spine, pelvis, hips and ribs all clearly visible.  

We didn't see any sheep out on the moor.
Thin beef cow with pelvis, hip, ribs and spine visible

Some of the ponies which were part of the September round-up have "disappeared" and haven't been seen for 2 weeks - they had tags in their mane and were spray painted.  We think that they must have been removed from the moor by their owner(s).  

There are 2 "unmarked" pony herds - some of these ponies were removed before the September round-up and then put back out after it had happened.  Whilst they wouldn't be considered thin yet, they have clearly lost their summer reserves now, the mares are pregnant and the spring grass doesn't come until May.  We will be watching...the ponies are still a concern to us, as are the cows!

                             So Bodmin is still an area to be watched this year!

Just for comparison - the photos below were taken on the north side of Dartmoor - just 25 miles away - they were taken the same day as the Bodmin photos and Dartmoor looks so much greener and so different to Bodmin!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

It's February!

For those of you turning over your People4ponies calendars, you will be greeted with an action photo of Puffin and Breeze - this photo was taken last year when Puffin went to join Star and Breeze on this beautiful conservation site by the sea - where they now reside as a trio.  As soon as Puffin and Breeze met they were instant best friends and Breeze took Puffin off on a tour of the site to see the highlights - they were side by side the whole way!  Such a lovely meeting and great that they are such best friends!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Happy Ponyversary!

Today it's Margaret and Gill's 10 year anniversary of their first ever visit to P4P...and they been amazing supporters ever since...thank you ladies!!  A good excuse for tea and cake to celebrate!  Happy Ponyversary!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Monday, 23 January 2017

Ponies At Play

We love to see the ponies running around at play - Wolfie in particular is very playful and last week was captured on video playing with Arthur!


Thank you to Faie who came to help on Saturday and donated £20 from her violin playing to the ponies!  Thank you also to Thea who has been busy helping us!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Somerset Council Grants Planning Permission For Slaughter Yard For Dartmoor Ponies

Despite opposition from many parties, including welfare groups, last week Sedgemoor District Council in Somerset granted retrospective planning permission for a slaughter yard for wild ponies.  The slaughter yard was promoted as being needed for the survival of ponies on Dartmoor.  The building blocks a public footpath which is in contravention of planning rules.

This abattoir is not an essential service needed for ponies on Dartmoor and should not have been proposed or recommended as such.  Devon itself had already rejected previous planning attempts for a slaughterhouse for ponies.  

Research has continually shown that the vast majority of pony owners want stallions to be removed from Dartmoor to prevent the annual mass over-breeding and culling of hundreds of ponies.  Sedgemoor making this decision supports a minority who refuse to remove stallions from the moor, intent instead on pursuing an abattoir for ponies in a drive to promote them for human and animal consumption.  This effectively sabotages the whole pony population because responsible owners (who had removed or vasectomised stallions to prevent mares from getting pregnant) are forced to breed foals when they have tried their best to avoid breeding unwanted animals.    It is not necessary for over-breeding to happen in order for conservation grazing of Dartmoor to take place.

To read more about the situation on Dartmoor, including the removing stallions and the contraceptive scheme please go to the following link:

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Daily Mail and BBC Spotlight Cover P4P Research into Heavy Metals on Bodmin Moor

BBC Spotlight filmed with us at the yard this afternoon about our research into heavy metals on Bodmin Moor.  The research P4P conducted last year revealed a particularly toxic water source at Minions - a level of arsenic of 1826 ug/l when the livestock limits are set around 25-200 ug/l.  It also revealed an extremely high toxicity of arsenic in a deceased pony and levels of bioaccumulation in others.  The full results of the research are available on our website

The BBC reporter did a great job of explaining the situation in such a short piece.  They were able to cover our research into the toxicity and also appealed for owners (and not the public) to feed their ponies hay during the winter to prevent pony deaths this winter.  The piece is available on BBC Iplayer for a short period of time.  Thank you to Margaret, Roy, Jas and Ted and Jenny for their help this afternoon!

The national newspaper The Mail on Sunday published a shortened version of the Bodmin story that we've been working on with them for a couple of months.

As part of Nick Constable's research he contacted APHA who claimed that tests they conducted on ponies showed no evidence of heavy metal toxicity - but we questioned this as the tests APHA conducted wouldn't be able to reveal heavy metal toxicity.  When the journalist went back to APHA to question this, they conceded they had not tested ponies for heavy metal toxicity at all!

Also as part of his research, Nick contacted a Professor of Physiology and the full article stated:

"David Gardner, Professor of Physiology at the University of Nottingham Veterinary School, said: 'For sure, this would be a toxic level of arsenic in water.

‘It's very high, it would be absolutely awful for the pony.'If the animals were drinking this they wouldn't be anything to warn them. It wouldn't taste any different.

‘A high amount reduces the function of the kidney and liver. It can mess up the ability of the animal to process other minerals and affects the metabolism.’

A research study published in May 2016 conducted by a University of Manchester PhD student discovered toxic exposure to arsenic in Cornish private water supplies. 5% of the Cornish private supplies tested had concentrations of toxic arsenic exceeding 10 micrograms per litre - exceeding World Health Organisation guidelines.  The study concluded there was strong evidence that people were being exposed at concentrations potentially detrimental to their health. The researchers suggested that installing suitable water treatment or using alternative supplies for drinking water could reduce their exposure, and any consequent health risks.

Comparing the results, the levels of arsenic and iron returned in the pony drinking pools were much higher than those found in the Manchester University study. To compare…The Manchester University arsenic results that were above recommended levels ranged from 11-233 ug/l – our sample 1 result came back as 1826 ug/l.

The Manchester University readings for iron above recommended levels ranged from 200 to 4210 ug/l units. The comparable unit reading from our sample 1 result was 12,100 ug/l.

From our research last year we have been calling for 3 simple measures to prevent the annual problems on Bodmin Moor:
 Compulsory winter feeding of hay by owners
 Provision of minerals all year around
 Clean water supplies with toxic water sources fenced off.

The campaigning continues...

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Thank you...And Rain!

Our sincere thanks to all the lovely people from The Associated Free Spirits who have donated the proceeds from their 2016 meetings - tonight we were presented with a cheque for £200 - thank you so much everyone - we really appreciate it! 

We've had rain every day for the last 6 days now so we are very pleased to have the yard and hard standing for the ponies...and all that hard work our volunteers put into making hay last July means that they have plenty of food.  They don't even really want to be out in the field that long!  We could have snow later this week...!!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

We Do Love This Weather...Frosty Weather Ponies!!

Morning Room Service Please!

Super Fluffy Coats!

Arthur and Munchie

Munchie's Getting Better!


Thank you everyone for donating the ponies' herbs - they do look amazing - this weather always shows their coats at their fluffiest!  A special thank you to Thea for sending Munchie his very own New Year special box of herbs to help get him better...and to Roy and Archie for coming to help today!

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2017 - Happy New Year!

Those of you with your 2017 People4ponies calendars will be greeted with this beautiful image taken by Claudia Mellor - this is Ebony, one of the adult mares rescued in the original P4P herd. She has an earnotch as you will see in the photo of her ears below.  Ebony is very elegant.  She was fiercely protective of her young. Munchkin was one of her foals - though he seems to have more the build of his Exmoor dad (probably Tunny).

Ebony now lives conservation grazing with another of our ponies - Apache - and they live with Larry the pet sheep.  The calendar photo was taken on a frosty day on the nature reserve.  Such lucky ponies!  Ebony is one of our sponsor ponies.

Ebony in the herd field

To send a message or ask a question, please click on the 'comments' link below