Monday, 30 December 2013

Review of The Year

I thought it would be nice to do a little review of p4p's 2013...the time does fly by!

We started the year with 7 ponies at our main base and in January we had snow which meant we were snowed in for a while!

In February, Munchkin found a new home with Pete and Stella
In March, Jeremy who we had to report as stolen whilst out on loan was found very quickly...and he had cleverly managed to find himself a wonderful new home in the process!

We also attended Parliament and contributed to the APGAW meeting on live animal transport and the horse meat scandal.

We also featured on the LUSH charity pots throughout the year.
At the beginning of April, p4p volunteers travelled to Birmingham to attend the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards and were inspired by all the different people and causes and their work for animals.  Faye won the "Volunteer of the Year" Award and  particularly impressed the judges with the campaigning work she has done on behalf of p4p and the wild ponies.

At the beginning of May the Marsland ponies had their annual check-up.

Sadly, just a few days later Tufty became poorly with colic and we lost her on the 13th May.  This is our favourite photo of her.  She had transformed in health since she first arrived with us.  She was probably mid-30's in age but we are so pleased that in her last 8 months she had been able to overcome her fear of people and enjoyed living at our main base.  Tufty had helped her best friend Topsy to integrate into our herd and Topsy adjusted to life without her best friend.

All throughout the spring and summer we visited our loan ponies to make sure they and their carers are doing well. 
In June, Frodo was a VIP (Very Important Pony) featuring in the parade at St John's Fair in Witheridge.

Haymaking happened during the fabulous hot, dry weather in July and we were very lucky to have so many hard working volunteers who came to help.
Next came the heatwave with temperatures reaching 33 degrees Celsius!

Val came to volunteer with us in August - she was visiting from Germany and enjoyed working with Topsy and doing some Horse Agility with Frodo.
Later in August we had our most successful p4p stall ever at The Brooke Show!  
We'd continued our campaigning throughout the year and Neil Parish, our MP, was a great support.  At the beginning of October we received confirmation from Defra that the practice of hot branding would now be illegal for domesticated ponies.  Wild ponies would have brands restricted to one only...not the full ban we need...but a big step in the right direction a vast improvement for the Exmoors who were having up to 7 individual brands applied.  At the APGAW meeting we attended later in the month we were able to ask Lord de Mauley directly about the subject.  He agreed that hot branding should be banned that the alternatives means of identification should be investigated.  We also asked Lord de Mauley about what is being done to ensure welfare of ponies on Bodmin Moor this winter.

Throughout September and October, Faye and Hazel-Ann attended the wild pony markets.  Standards have improved and there were vastly fewer numbers of ponies at the sales.  Most ponies didn't sell and the huge scale of overbreeding still means that most ponies born are being slaughtered.  Thankfully we didn't see any of the large scale dealers who were involved in illegal transporting abroad...we do suspect that native wild ponies were involved in the horse meat scandal.

Our first ever p4p calendar launched for sale at the end of October and was sold out after all the Christmas sales!

Late November saw big excavations at the yard with Roger fixing the drains and making a huge difference by stopping the water from running across the yard.

We had Christmas stalls at the Christmas Without Cruelty Festival in Exeter, Eggesford Garden Centre and Witheridge to fund-raise for the ponies.

 Phew!  That was quite a round-up and it's only when you start reviewing that you realise how much we have done!  And that doesn't include all the normal chores, mucking out, re-designing our website and painting the round-pen for instance!!  Happy New Year to everyone and lets see what happens in 2014!

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Jeremy and Rowan's Christmas

Look what Jeremy and Rowan had for Christmas...lovely new jumping blocks so they can continue their practising.  What a great team, and thank you very much to Anita for sending through the photo!

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Faye and all the p4p ponies would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!  Thank you to everyone for all your support and donations this year - all your help enables us to continue our work...and, of course, thank you to the p4p volunteers for all their hard work and dedication.  A big thank you in particular to Ted and Jenny who are an amazing support to us.

Throughout the next year we'll be doing some special blog posts for all of you with people4ponies 2014 calendars - we'll try to update the blog at the beginning of each month with the story behind the pony/ponies in the photos.

Have a peaceful and happy Christmas!

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It's Much Calmer Now After The Storm

We took quite a battering last night in the South West with yet more heavy rain and strong winds but everyone is fine....we hope all of our supporters across the country have stayed safe too.  Well done to all the amazing rescue workers who braved the weather conditions to rescue animals and people yesterday and last night.   I saw a post late last night saying that Falmouth Coastguard were involved in coordinating a rescue of 2 people on a sinking boat 150 miles off the Isles of Scilly and helicopters were being sent out.  This morning I see that amazingly a boat did get there in time and rescued the 2 sailors, but it must have been a traumatic experience for all involved.

A big congratulations to the Norfolk RNLI for rescuing a labrador who was swept out to sea on Sunday - there's a video of the rescue on this link...

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Monday, 23 December 2013

Stormy Weather!

There's been a lot of wet weather this week but today was the big storm that forecasters had been warning about.  Today we probably had the worst gusts of wind that we've experienced since we've been at the farm.  The ponies were still keen to go out as their winter field is quite sheltered.  They were "half passing" because the rain and wind was so bad but they were determined to get to the gateway to go out.  As always, the gates to the yard were open so they could come back in if they wanted but they didn't!  Mucking out was a bit of a challenge because the gusts tried to blow you off your feet.  In exposed places you could hear the gusts coming so it was a case of getting somewhere sheltered or ducking down in the back of the link box of the tractor until they had passed and then carrying on with the work.  The good thing is that the mats have helped us cope with all the mud that's being created and there's lots of places for the ponies to stay sheltered and safe.  Roger's efforts to fix the drains were certainly well timed as they've been working well to take all the water away from the yard.

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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Peter's Visit

Today Peter's been volunteering with us and has done a great job helping today!

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December's Dashing By - Rescues, Recoveries And Updates

It's been such a busy week!  Monday started with a couple of spontaneous rescues...firstly a 16hh white spotted horse that Faye found in the road on her way to the ponies.  It was a gorgeous looking horse - and all tacked up with his western saddle and bridle.  Faye stopped her car to block the road (it was only a country lane) and caught up the horse.  He was very friendly and had been fairly happy munching on the roadside verge.  Walking along the road came his owner who had unfortunately fallen off some distance down the road.  Thankfully she wasn't injured and declined the offer of tea etc.  Horse and rider were reunited and off they went to finish the rest of their ride.
Immediately after that it was the Waitrose delivery man who needed rescuing after trying to follow his SatNav to find his way to the farm to deliver Ted and Jenny's shopping (he wasn't anywhere near)!

On Wednesday night Frodo managed to demolish a huge section of electric fencing - what probably took him a couple of minutes to destroy, took Faye all day on Thursday to reinstate.   Once everything was back in place again, we tested the current and it is strong hopefully that will keep everything in place and keep Frodo where he is meant to be!

We also are pleased to announce that our calendars are now sold thank you everyone who has purchased them and supported us.  We've had so many positive comments from people who have been delighted with them - and the calendars have gone far and wide - to Germany, Austria, Australia, and the USA!

We are also very pleased to say that we will be hosting a course next year for Vanessa Bee - Handling the Wild and Traumatised Horse...the dates will be released early next year!

And...there's more good news as we've heard from the NDAA that the hedgehog we rescued is doing well and is being looked after for the winter.

Thanks to Catherine for buying us an extra yard broom, Hazel-Ann and Graham for buying more oil for Topsy, and to Pat at The Horse's Voice for her extra donation for the ponies that she sent with her calendar order!

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Eggesford Christmas Gift Fair

Faye's new donkey mascot!
It was our first ever time attending Eggesford Christmas Gift Fair today and we really enjoyed the event.  It was nice having chaps with trolleys ready to help you with all the boxes to and from your car (we did try to see if we could have them for wheelbarrow help at the yard, but sadly not!!) and there was heating and warm drinks available for the area where the stallholders were.

Margaret and Faye sold lots of marmalades, jams and tombola tickets and met lots of wonderful people and made £85.90 for the ponies!  We need to say a thank you to the lovely lady on the HazelCat Designs stall who gave a handmade donkey that she had crafted to Faye...and thank you also to the lady on the stall opposite us who donated a very pretty, fluffy, knitted Christmas tree (that she had handcrafted) for the ponies' stall...and for the pack of new carrier bags that she donated too!

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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Remember EasyFundraising When You're Christmas Shopping Online!

Grazing together
We just wanted to remind everyone that you can gain People4ponies donations when doing your online Christmas shopping by using EasyFundrasing (  It costs you nothing as the donation comes from the retailer.  All the donations add up!  So far supporters using EasyFundraising have raised £165.90 for people4ponies...thank you everyone!

We're enjoying having the dry weather - such a difference to last year - it hasn't rained for about 2 weeks now which is definitely helping to keep the mud at bay.  Roger's efforts with improving the drainage have definitely paid off and we no longer have water running across the yard.  The ponies are enjoying their winter grazing and have nice thick winter coats to keep them warm.

Our pony Christmas cards have been so popular this year - we even had a phone call from a lady in Witheridge to order another 20.  She had bought some cards for her grandchildren but they loved Gill's drawings so much that they put the cards up on the tack room wall and won't send them out!  We're pleased everyone's enjoying the drawings as much as we do.

As always, Frodo's still determined to find mud to roll in!

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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas Without Cruelty Festival

We had an excellent day yesterday at the Christmas Without Cruelty Festival in Exeter at the Corn Exchange.  It's a really well organised, friendly event with lots of stalls run by different animal, people and environmentally friendly charities/organisations/companies selling all sorts of gifts and foods for Christmas.  It just the right's big but not too big, so there's plenty of room for people to wander at their own speed and to talk and find out more about each of the organisations present.   We had our stall set up with all our lovely goods to sell - pony Christmas cards, calendars, mugs, jewellery, jams, marmalades, plants and cooking apples...and it looked very pretty.

There was a steady stream of visitors all day.  We met lots of lovely people from all over the SW.  Our friends from the LUSH Exeter store were there...and just opposite us were the RSPCA West Hatch centre...where we think our rescued hedgehog might be!

We sold lots of items on our stall - amazingly we were nearly sold out on the Christmas cards with just 2 designs left, we were "sold out" on some of our jewellery items...we sold 35 jars of Margaret's home-made jams and marmalades!  Altogether we raised £205.36 on our stall and it was great to be able to share our campaigning work and gain support from so many new people who just didn't realise what happens to wild ponies in the UK.  It was our first time attending this festival and we'd really like to return next year!
Lots of lovely cakes!

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Big Excavations Are Underway

Thanks to Hazel-Ann we have these photos of the rather impressive excavations going on at the yard.  We've had a problem with a water source right next to the yard entrance since the ponies arrived - Ted and Jenny thought that it was either a broken drainage pipe or a spring.  Whenever it rains, water pours out of the ground making the area very muddy...but the water also rushes across the yard and brings large amounts of mud with it blocking up the drains.   Our neighbour Roger arrived with his heavy machinery to try to get to the bottom of the problem.  He managed to clear all the drains through and track the location of some of the pipes under the ground.  Then he was able to dig a big trench to try to establish where the problem water is coming from and install some new pipes to drain the problem water away.  It was amazing how much water was flowing down there, particularly as we haven't had any rain for a few days now.

The ponies have much more grazing now during the daytime but they've lost part of their favourite night-time area whilst all these excavations are underway.  Once it's all finished they'll certainly benefit from less mud and water outside and across the yard.  Thank you Roger!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Big Thank You

We need to say a big THANK YOU to everyone at Endurance Mats in Coventry for their donation of 20 gateway mats (over £400s worth) to us last week.  It's such a wonderful donation and will be a big help to us in the everyday running of the yard and trying to keep the mud at bay!

Margaret and Faye went to the car boot sale in Witheridge this morning and set up the p4p stall (Hazel-Ann looked after the ponies at the yard) - we sold lots of Christmas cards and raised £41 for the ponies!  Thank you very much to Jenny for donating plants and a children's chair for us to sell on our stall.

We also had Peter, a young volunteer, come to visit on Saturday who did a fantastic job of helping with the mucking out!

The NDAA say they'll keep us updated on hedgehogs progress so we'll let you know when we have an update!

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

People4ponies...And Hedgehogs Today

Just rescued - one very cold hedgehog

This afternoon, Faye was just about to leave her house to get to the ponies when she glanced out of the living room window and saw a hedgehog on the front lawn.  It was snowing outside and the hedgehog was very small and not looking very happy.  It was moving but was occasionally struggling and falling sideways.  She rang the North Devon Animal Ambulance emergency line and Diana Lewis confirmed that it would be too small to survive the winter and it must be struggling in this horrible, cold, winter weather. NDAA would take the hedgehog if Faye could deliver it to Market Vets in South Molton.

20 minutes later and its a much warmer, happier looking hedgehog
Faye caught the hedgehog quite easily - it was very cold (hedgehog hypothermia we think!) and it seemed quite relieved to have found some help - and took it inside.  She made a nest of newspaper in a cardboard box and placed the hedgehog inside.  After about 15 to 20 minutes, the hedgehog had warmed up and was looking much more perky.  The box fitted into the footwell of the car and the car heaters helped to keep the temperature up - the hedgehog really looked quite revived but of course, it will be far too small and underweight to be able to hibernate for the winter.

The staff at Market Vets were happy to look after the hedgehog until Diana comes to collect it tomorrow, and are going to give it some cat food and water.  Thank you very much to Diana and we'll let you know if we hear anything else of its progress.

It meant that the ponies were a bit late in getting their dinner - going up to sort out the electric fencing in the dark when it's a wind chill of what seems like -5 degrees Celsius strangely really makes you focus - just think  - that little hedgehog wouldn't have stood a chance in that weather tonight but it found its way to us to ask for help and we've done the best we can for it....and I wonder how many other welfare people were also out in the rain, snow, ice, gale force winds in the dark doing their best and caring for all sorts animals tonight...doing their bit to make a difference.

There's a story that our volunteer Margaret once told us (as she said it reminded her of Faye):

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, 
"It made a difference for that one.” 

― Loren Eiseley

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Winter's Arrived

I'm afraid we're a bit behind with the blogging - sorry about that - winter has well and truly arrived this week!  The end of last week and the weekend were the sorts of days that are not good at promoting England as a tourist destination...grey, overcast, dull, and so damp and cold it goes straight into your bones...and, oh yes, just to add to that it starts getting dark at 3pm when it's so grey!!  Time to get out the thermal trousers, woolly hats, scarves and at least 6 jumpers to keep warm.  Even the wild birds think it's cold and when Ted and Jenny were away last week, a blue tit was tapping on the living room window to point out to Faye that they had run out of peanuts and seeds in their feeders and they needed attention and looking after too!

Tuesday was such a relief as we had bright sunshine and everything was looking beautiful again!

Winter can be beautiful!

 We really enjoyed having Angela come to visit us last week - she was able to work with Topsy which was great and we must say thank you to Angela for her donations of apples, chocolates and the lovely big storage boxes which will be going into our feed room.

We also owe some other "thank you"s as Catherine donated some electric fencing tape, Hazel-Ann bought the ponies some more salt licks, and Margaret's made extra marmalade and came over on extra occasions to help at the yard.  Graham's present of waterproof gloves have been invaluable this week - bizarrely, Faye's accidentally discovered that you don't get shocks from the electric fencing when you wear the gloves (and wellies), although that does change if you accidentally kneel on the ground and make contact with the earth!

There was a free listing day on ebay that we took advantage of so we sold a Meccano traction engine and Triang railway tender (kindly donated by Catherine), some jodphurs, polo bandages, and a Victorian fireplace kerb (donated by Ted and Jenny).  After the commission fees, we've raised just under £100, so thank you everyone for your donations of items.  Thank you to Jenny for helping to wrap up the items to post - it really can be quite a challenge!

The traction engine sold for £56

On Friday night we had an email from BBC Radio 5 live who wanted to do a pre-recorded interview about the Dartmoor Hill ponies - of course, we agreed and responded, but sadly even though we were still within the time limits they emailed back saying they'd found someone else to interview instead!  I'll blog again later this week about the subject and our response to Princess Anne's statement.

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Monday, 11 November 2013

Bobby's Been Making Friends

Angela's come to volunteer with us for a couple of days and today she's been making friends with Bobby and Dan.  I'm afraid Bobby looks a bit wet and bedraggled in the photo but it has been very wet - the ponies always have free access to the stable, barn and field shelter but sometimes they'd just rather stand in the rain!

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