Further ponies have been rescued from Bodmin Moor within months of two large scale round-ups.

On 16-17 June, Redwings Horse Sanctuary helped Bodmin Moor Commons Council rescue 14 ponies from the area in Cornwall.

Nearby Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary has taken seven in and the rest, which included an elderly Shetland mare, a mare and foal and two pairs of siblings, were taken to Redwings.

Redwings’ head of welfare and behaviour Nic de Brauwere said the ponies were “completely unhandled and visibly terrified of people”.

Bodmin Moor rescue June2016 3“The group were very dull and depressed, and thought to be suffering from fairly profound parasite burdens,” he said.

“Each of the ponies also has its own story of suffering to tell.

“One of particular concern was a chestnut foal rescued with his mother who had previously been found by a local farmer with his leg trapped between two boulders.”

In April the charity helped with another multi-agency round-up, in which 22 horses were removed from Eastmoor and given homes by nearby welfare organisations.

A second round-up was carried out in May, when 18 horses were removed.

Lincolnshire-based Bransby Horses took in eight animals, a further eight went to Shires Holt in Cornwall and the remaining two were offered a home at a local farm.

Mr de Brauwere warned that overstocking is having “catastrophic effects” on welfare on some of the commons.

Bodmin Moor rescue June2016 1There are simply too many horses, and mares and foals are being caught in the crossfire of stallions fighting,” he said.

“Native ponies have found life on some areas of Bodmin Moor extremely challenging this past winter and into spring.

“As well as the consequences of relentless rain affecting grass growth and grazing, we have seen an increase in ponies affected by high worm burdens.

“A lack of frost has allowed parasites that would otherwise have been killed off by freezing temperatures to thrive.”

In March this year, the Bodmin Moor Commons Council was established and it is hoped this will help address welfare problems on the moor.

The charity is planning on helping the council with a three-day microchipping and passporting “operation” this autumn.

“Formal identification of horses will ensure those with grazing rights can do so and those who do not can no longer view the moor as a dumping ground, which has exacerbated the issue of overstocking,” added Mr de Brauwere.

He said working with the council and commoners can help make sure owners are aware of their responsibilities for the welfare of their ponies.

“That is not only in controlling breeding through gelding and prevention of parasite infestations, but also in ensuring their ponies can be handled to receive veterinary intervention should they need it,” he said.


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There have been numerous welfare crises in the area in recent years. Two years ago, more than 20 ponies died on the moor in a week and in 2011, Redwings was involved in the rescue of 19 ponies found in a severe state of neglect in the area.

Last year H&H also reported that three ponies — a stallion, mare and foal — were rescued from the moor.