Traumatised pony finds new home in time for Christmas

  • A pony rescued from a farm where the owner beat his horses in cattle crushes has found a new home after two years of rehabilitation.

    Swift, a nine-year-old bay native pony was one of the most nervous cases the Blue Cross has taken in.

    The pony has spent two years at the charity’s rehoming centre in Burford, Oxfordshire.

    “Swift had never known love and care before she arrived at Blue Cross,” said Vicki Alford, the charity’s rehoming manager.

    “The team have taken things very slowly with her and have trained her using positive reinforcement, with food rewarding the desired behaviour. Thanks to their love and care, Swift has progressed really well,” she added.

    Groom Anna Bissett used clicker training as part of the rehabilitation, as the pony was unhandable when she arrived. The pair have built up a great bond.

    “She’s a super, sweet pony, but because of her past she’s still very nervous,” said Miss Bissett.

    Swift moved to her new home with Jenni Nellist, a clinical animal behaviourist working with horses in Wales, on Wednesday 20 December.

    Swift is living with her two Welsh Cobs Penny and Bronwen and her other loan pony, Kitty on a four-acre field rented from the local Wildlife Trust.

    Continued below…

    In the New Year Miss Nellist is planning to start weekly “learning with Swift days” to give people training to be animal behaviourists practical experience.

    The pony will stay with her for three months after which she hopes she will go to one of her client’s who is looking for a pony for conservation grazing.

    “Swift is great with her groom Anna, but now needs further training in a low-key way to understand not all people are out to get her,” said Miss Nellist.

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