More than 30 ponies have been rounded-up from Bodmin Moor in Cornwall following welfare concerns.

Earlier this month (2 April), horseandhound.co.uk reported there had been concern from the public after images emerged of dead and starving ponies on the moor.

Five days later, Redwings Horses Sanctuary assisted the Bodmin Moor Commons Council and other organisations to round up, assess and rescue a group of ponies on Eastmoor.

The one-day operation – involving Redwings, the RSPCA, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), World Horse Welfare, local rescue organisation Shires Holt, landowners and the police – was arranged to tackle the escalating problem of suffering ponies on the moor.

Redwings said that the situation had been exacerbated by the recent wet winter.

The ponies were assessed by Redwings’ head of welfare and behaviour and senior veterinary surgeon Nic de Brauwere and APHA veterinary officer Lorna Stevenson.

22 of the 34 ponies were of sufficient concern to be removed from the moor.

They have since been rehomed by local rescue centre Shires Holt and welfare charity Bransby Horses, as well as other local shelters.

One pony suffering from a disfigured foot was put down, while the remainder of the group that were judged to be healthy were released back on to the moor. The ponies will be monitored on an ongoing basis.


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“It is clear there is a big challenge in bringing about long-term improvements for the management of ponies on Bodmin Moor,” said Mr de Brauwere.

“The moor has the potential for native ponies to thrive, but these animals will always need human support. Our hope for the future of the ponies is for them to have a natural life, but also to be familiarised with people so they can be supported with veterinary and routine healthcare when required.

“This vision can only become a reality with the cooperation of everyone with rights to graze their ponies on the moor, and this is why we fully support the newly established Bodmin Moor Commons Council and their development of management plans that work for the commoners, the land and the animals.”

APHA’s Ms Stevenson thanked all those involved in the round-up and rescuing process.

“Since 7 April, Julie Dowton of Bodmin Moor Commons Council and Pip Lovelock from Shires Holt have been out on the moors daily and have identified more ponies in three locations that require removal and rehoming, and APHA will be accompanying them on further visits this week,” she added.

Redwings’ work on the moor

poldark 1

Redwings has been working to help the ponies of Bodmin Moor for more than five years and has rescued and offered a home at its sanctuary to 19 ponies found in a severe state of neglect in 2011.

Last year (15 April), the charity supported the rescue and ongoing care of a stallion and a mare and her foal (pictured, above), as previously reported on horseandhound.co.uk

The trio were named after characters from the BBC television series Poldark having been rescued from the same area where scenes from the programme were filmed.