Eleven emaciated, sick and nervous ponies rescued from flooded land last year are doing well after being taken in by Blue Cross.

43 ponies were rescued Photo: Blue Cross

The group of ponies, most of whom have been rehomed, were rescued in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, during a large-scale operation by the RSPCA and partners in February 2020.

The rescue involved 43 abandoned ponies, most of whom were very thin, covered in flees and lice and had little, if any, experience of being handled. Several ponies found at the site had died.

It is understood that they had been dumped in the area for unauthorised grazing and the landowner was able to seize the horses with the help of the RSPCA under the Control of Horses Act. The owners could not be identified as the ponies were not microchipped.

While at Blue Cross, the ponies needed intensive work to help them get used to humans and being handled. The team at the charity’s animal rehoming centre in Rolleston spent every day encouraging the ponies accept human touch.

The ponies were slowly introduced to allowing handlers to put a headcollar on them, be groomed and have their feet handled. Some learned quickly, while others took several weeks and months.

‘So frightened she can only lift one of her feet’

Dove with her foal, Rainbow Photo: Blue Cross

“One particularly nervous pony, Dove, is still undergoing training for her to have her feet picked up for the farrier and vet checks,” said a Blue Cross statement.

“She has been at the centre for over a year and remains so frightened she can only lift one of her feet. Her groom is working hard to gain her trust with this in preparation for a new home. The team suspect she had previously been handled badly or even abused.”

Verity Anderton-Johnson, rehoming co-ordinator at Blue Cross, said: “All of the ponies were in such a sorry state when they came into our care. We are used to helping abandoned, nervous ponies, but to have so many all at once it was another level.

“It makes us so happy to see them come out of their shell and be able to go to their first real loving homes.”

The other ponies taken in by Blue Cross are:

  • Blythe — rehomed as a companion pony
  • Nene — gone to be backed in a home as a riding pony
  • Ribble and Nidd (pictured, top) — rehomed together as companions to a riding horse in Wales
  • Arun — rehomed. When she is four she will start training to become a driving or riding pony
  • Hipper — rehomed as a non-ridden companion
  • Bunny (Hipper’s foal) — rehomed with Bumbleebee, another foal born during lockdown. When they are old enough they will be trained to be riding or driving ponies
  • Tweed (Bumblebee’s mum) — arrived with bad liver damage and is currently under veterinary treatment for ulcers at Blue Cross in Burford, Oxfordshire
  • Eden, Soar, River and Victory — rehomed together. River and Victory will be trained to become driving ponies and their mums, Eden and Soar, will be long-term companion ponies
  • Cole — found a new home where he will continue to learn to trust people and be trained.
  • Rainbow (Dove’s foal) — will go to a home where she will continue to learn and potentially become a riding or driving pony

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer