Sunday, 19 November 2017

Christmas Without Cruelty Festival

We had an amazing day at the Christmas Without Cruelty Festival yesterday - the biggest crowds ever, and the hall was very busy through-out the whole day!  We completely sold out of Margaret's jams and marmalades which are incredibly popular!  I'm very grateful for Frances' help on the stall!  I'm also very grateful to Catherine and Victoria for looking after the ponies and to Roy for doing their dinners in the evening.  We raised an amazing £291.50 on the stall - thank you so much everyone for your support, and to Mark for all his work organising the event!

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Friday, 10 November 2017

Babe, Maisie and Jaffa

Jaffa and Babe!
 We really enjoyed our visit to see Babe and her friends today.  It's a year tomorrow that Babe went to stay with Frances, Maisie and Jaffa and she's doing brilliantly.  Roy is so chuffed to see her charging about!  The girl that in February 2016 was so poorly she was nearly put to sleep because of her feet (laminitis and pedal bone rotation)...she came to us for rehab...she was rehomed with Frances...and now she's on 24 hour turnout and full of the joys of life :0)  We love happy pony stories :0)

Maisie had a swollen leg this morning so had some red light therapy.
The heat went away in 20 minutes and Maisie who is usually suspicious of men nuzzled
her head into Roy's arm which was very sweet.  She decided to join in the charging
 about this afternoon!
Babe, Jaffa and Maisie

Jaffa and Babe synchronized!


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Monday, 6 November 2017

Christmas Without Cruelty Festival

Less than 2 weeks to go until our most favourite fundraiser of the whole year!  The Christmas Without Cruelty Festival in Exeter is a great place to buy your Christmas gifts - all in the knowledge that what you are buying is animal and human friendly! 

We'll have our fundraising stall there with our calendars, jewellery, jams and marmalades, fair trade scarves and soft toys on sale.  They have a Facebook page at the following address:  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

November's Here

This month's calendar photo features beautiful Babe the pony with visitors Mia and Violet - a special moment captured on camera.  Ponies can bring a real sense of joy to children and sometimes, as captured in the photo, you can see that special connection and bond coming through...something that can be underestimated and undervalued.  Babe is a big pony...and the children in no way feel scared by her size.  Babe certainly chose to bond with the children of her own free will - everyone is so respectful of each other and they share the special heart to heart moment together.

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Sunday, 29 October 2017

South Molton Apple Fair

Thank you to everyone who supported us on our P4P stall today!  We raised £123 for the ponies so thank you to Peter for helping to run the tombola and Margaret and Jas for looking after the ponies at the yard!

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

People4ponies 2018 Calendar Now Available For Sale!

We're delighted to have the 2018 People4ponies calendar now ready for sale!  We're very grateful to Hedgerow Print for their help in producing the 2018 edition!  It's the same great quality glossy print... and now with an even better grid section which includes separate colour coded weekends and bank holidays, moon cycles, and a snapshot for the following month so you can check out dates without needing to flip over the page!  This year's calendar is available for £6.50 and all profits go to the care of our ponies. 


Our calendars have glossy photos with a central binding, each side measures 279 x 216mm (just a bit narrower than A4)  so is nice and big when fully open and displayed on the wall (279 x 440mm).We'll add the calendar to the shop on the main People4ponies website shortly...please do get in touch to order your copy!  They make lovely Christmas presents and we will also have them available on our stalls for as long as stocks last!!

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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Hallworthy Horse Sale

We are pleased to report a very much improved horse sale at Hallworthy market today.  Both Trading Standards and Defra were present at the sale so we would like to thank everyone for their efforts - both in the planning of the sale, and during the sale today.

All the ponies/horses were in good condition.  One horse had cut its leg during transport but this was treated at the sale and didn't cause any problem.  There were domesticated horses and also wild ponies from Bodmin for sale.  All the horses and ponies were checked for their microchips before sale.  Straw had been put down in some areas and the handling/moving of the horses was much improved.  The weather was atrocious today but the sale was still very well attended with the gallery packed with people.  There was no official catalogue this year but there was a list of horses for sale published on the auction-house website (with just beyond 100 listed).  Not all the horses sold but a good number were and private homes were buying.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Is Here

Red sun at 10.30 this morning!
Such an unusual start to the morning brought by ex-hurricane Ophelia!  There was a light covering of Sahara sand on the car before I left home.  The sky was yellow until about 9.45 and at 10.30 the clouds parted a bit to reveal a red sun!  Very unusual!

It has been getting increasingly windy so buckets are being stowed away - the good thing is, no rain!!  You can see in the left hand photo Arthur being blown a bit sideways by the wind.  Beautiful blue sky!

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Pony Market News

We heard good general feedback about the Chagford pony sale on Thursday - the car park full of lots of private cars and trailers, not dealers lorries.  Ponies were in good condition - some made quite a lot of money (the spotty ones most likely as these are always popular).  Quite a few went unsold which is not surprising when there were so many entered.  Nothing outwardly noted as any concern which is great!  The publicity about slaughtering the ponies for meat (which reached all over the country) probably helped to attract some extra private buyers.  As we all know, there needs to be an end to the overbreeding of so many unwanted foals...and not using the excuse of "conservation" as a reason for producing them as a "by-product" but I think everyone is already very clear on our views about that!! 

It is so good to know that the promises of action made to us in the 5 page report we received back from the Cornish authorities last year regarding Hallworthy pony market are being carried out.  We appreciate the efforts of all involved to make sure that the sale will be the best it can possibly be.

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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Chagford Pony Drift Sale Today

Spare a thought for the 245 little souls for sale at Chagford on Dartmoor today...a hundred more than last year...

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

You're Never Off Duty!

On Monday, on the last part of the late night journey home my headlights caught the red eyes of an animal in the road in front of me - I was expecting it might be a fox and it would jump into the hedge...but no!  Despite dipping the lights, the creature was running straight towards me...and as I slowed and got alongside it, it was a Springer Spaniel!   Very friendly but shouldn't have been out past 11pm running on the main road!  He was very friendly and with a bit of persuasion jumped straight into the car.  No collar...thank goodness for our microchip scanner...running it down his neck...beep...chip found!  Off to the local vets, who thankfully had a late night member of staff on duty who could look him up on their database.  When I went to the car to get the piece of paper with his chip number, I saw him sat in the drivers seat just holding my yoghurt (ready for breakfast) that he'd found in the passenger seat.  I went back inside the surgery, the vet tried the contact numbers of his owners several times...but no she agreed he could stay there until they could be contacted.  Borrowing a lead, I went to get him from the car and with a bit of persuasion he came into the vets where he could get settled in for the night.

Job done, back to the car just before mid-night...and I couldn't help but laugh when I found on the backseat of the car a perfectly clean and empty yoghurt pot, completely polished off, no mess on the car!  Obviously he was a very hungry boy and to be fair I hadn't said he couldn't have was my last one as that was breakfast gone!!!!  I found out that his name is Jester, which is very appropriate (!).  Happily the next day he was reunited with his owners!!!

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

October Stars Basil!

October brings us wonderful Basil - I love this photo of him with the Devon village behind, the leaves turning autumnal and you can just about make out his friend Chester the horse behind him.  Basil's been very lucky to have a home with Carol on her farm.  He's a real character and definitely a member of the family!

I can't believe how wet the ground is this autumn - it's so wet underfoot already - much more like February than October, which is a bit of a worry because the winter is a long few months!  The main P4P herd is now out starting their winter pasture.  Topsy and Star had a flock of sheep visit for a few days to get the amount of grass down in their field.

Healing thoughts for Munchie please who, rather unluckily, has abscesses in both front feet at the moment, poor chap - he's getting lots of extra looking after.  He's on the very last bit of his old hoof with the whole new healthy foot above - very frustrating that the abscesses have appeared, and at the same time, but it's all part of the healing process, to get necrotic tissue out.

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Friday, 29 September 2017


We had a lovely email update about Puffin at the weekend!  He's been accompanying Kate and Polo out on their adventures and he's even having a go at some in-hand jumping which sounds great!  What a lucky pony Puffin is!!

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Well Done Angela!

Congratulations to Angela who today successfully completed her epic mission from Lands End to John O' Groats and back on her quadbike!  What an amazing achievement, and all the more impressive that she kept going despite two failed attempts!  Such a brave lady!  Well done Angela!

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Jeremy's Been Missing 6 Months...

It was six months ago yesterday that we last saw Jeremy - it is really hard not knowing what happened to him and we can't help feeling like we let his loan family down too - it was meant to be a move that was beneficial for everyone and we didn't expect to be let down by the Wildlife Trust either...but I thought I would just repost his picture here just in case anyone thinks they see him...

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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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