A Shetland pony who was one of 13 equines rescued by The Mare and Foal Sanctuary in a multi-agency operation to recover animals from a centre in Par, Cornwall in 2022, is now seeking a new home.

Many of the equines found at the ‘Family Nest Therapy CIC’ were in a very poor state with severe malnourishment, conjunctivitis, lice, worm burden, overgrown hooves, heart conditions, alopecia, anaemia and chronic inflammation. Their bones showed through their skin, and some were covered in paint brush marks from children’s parties. Some ponies were showing signs of severe depression.

Three-year-old Sherbert was one of those taken in by the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, and she is now ready to be rehomed.

Sherbert on the day of the rescue with visible paint on her coat from a child’s party

“Although we will miss seeing her each day, everyone at the Sanctuary would love to see Sherbert happily settled in a special new home after her terrible ordeal,” said Syra Bowden, Head of Welfare Outreach and Advice at The Mare and Foal Sanctuary.

“Our team has been so impressed with Sherbert’s progress. It took a great deal of loving care, support and rehabilitation, but her character and spirit has finally emerged, and she has captured the hearts of everyone who has worked with her.

“At the age of three she’s a sweet natured, affectionate young pony in good health and we would love for her to find a new home where she can continue to learn and develop in a safe and loving environment. She would make a wonderful companion pony and is sociable in her herd, so she will need other equine company. We think Sherbert will do well with someone who has worked with small ponies before and can give her lots of attention and enrichment exercises.”

‘One of the worst neglect cases’

Shetland Lola on the day of the rescue

Sentencing the owners and yard manager at Family Nest Therapy CIC to suspended prison sentences and bans on keeping animals, Judge Simon Carr said it was one of the worst cases of animal neglect he had ever seen.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary spent more than a year nursing the 12 surviving ponies and horses back to health. Each had an individual recovery plan tailored to their specific needs, including veterinary visits, medication and food supplements. They also required extensive behavioural training.

After more than a year of treatment, Sherbert, Poppy and Lola (who were rescued with her) now have sanctuary for life with The Mare and Foal Sanctuary.  However, staff feel Sherbert would benefit from one-to-one care with an experienced pony handler as part of the charity’s ‘Sanctuary at Home’ loan scheme.

‘Sanctuary at Home’ carers provide foals, ponies and horses a home for as many years as they choose on a loan basis. Rehoming enables space to be created at the charity’s sanctuaries for more equines in need. All carers have access to expert advice and support from a dedicated team and in some cases the charity can help with some of the medical costs for eligible horses or ponies through its ‘Prime Pastures’ scheme. Carers have the peace of mind that if their circumstances change, the charity provides sanctuary for life for its animals.

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is keen to hear from anyone with experience of equine care who is interested in finding out more about Sherbert or any of its horses or ponies available for rehoming.

To find out more, visit mareandfoal.org

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