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 need...guardian 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 centres...so 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 come...it 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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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Archie's Afternoon

Archie's been helping us this afternoon - spending some time with Star and getting to know her.  We are very grateful to Bill Lomas the horse dentist for travelling over to us this afternoon and visiting Rocky and Frodo.

We need to thank Angela for her generous donation for the ponies this week too - a further contribution from her quadbike adventure earlier in the summer - for which we are extremely thankful!

Margaret has also done a grand job fixing one of the rugs which Munchie managed to "rearrange" - not an easy task to fix but you'd hardly know it had happened now!

The rain and autumnal weather has been continuing - even the North Devon Show was cancelled due to the conditions - with the mud and rain back all too soon.

In the news today more coverage given to the Dartmoor Hill Ponies - with it being declared that through genetic research that they are a breed in their own right...whether that is going to stop their owners and promoters eating them, or turning them into sausages...or breeding too many of them still remains to be seen!

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

August's Star Pony Is Wolfie

August's calendar photo is of the gorgeous Wolfie who is quite a fan of the camera and a very photogenic chap!  Wolfie was one of the young colts in the original herd of ponies that P4P rescued.  Cilla nicknamed him Wolf because of his colouring - greyey brown and shadow-like.  He used to enjoy playing with Bobby in the field - they played lots together including a lot of rearing games which Cilla finally succeeded at catching on camera after many attempts.  We have so many lovely pictures of Wolfie that I'm sure there will be more appearing in our future calendars...we're spoilt for choice!

Wolfie and Dan

Bobby and Wolfie in their younger days!

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