Equine welfare charity at capacity urgently seeks new homes

  • The Mare & Foal Sanctuary has warned that it cannot take in any more equines unless some of its current residents are rehomed, following an increase in welfare cases.

    The charity is appealing to knowledgable horse owners to take on some of the 38 retrained ponies available for rehoming, to free up space for others.

    In a statement today (26 February), the sanctuary said some of its yards are operating over their capacity with more rescues coming in “almost every day”.

    “We’re doing our best to take in as many as we can but we can’t take any more ponies in until we have free stables,” said senior director of equine, Syra Bowden.

    “We have 38 ponies rehabilitated, retrained and ready for rehoming right now which will free up space for more to come in.”

    Ms Bowden said many of those who come to the sanctuary are unhandled, so their training has to start from scratch.

    “It’s a lengthy process but we need to make sure they are not only happy and healthy but, most importantly, safe,” she said. “They have to be confident about anything the outside world might throw at them, from in-hand shows to hacking or walking in the lanes, fancy dress competitions to a visit from the vet.”

    The charity has more than 214 horses and ponies at its five Devon farms, and 459 on loan throughout the region.

    “The horses and ponies come into the sanctuary for a variety of reasons but they all have one thing in common, they are all frightened,” a sanctuary spokesman said.

    Head groom Terri Carroll added: “They often arrive in really poor shape and terrified.

    “They could have been orphaned because their mum was hit by a car on Dartmoor or dumped alone and terrified in a city car park. Sometimes it’s because someone is unable to cope with a herd that’s out of control.

    “They arrive for all sorts of reasons, but they leave healthy, confident and eager to learn. I’ve seen so many bedraggled, sad-looking ponies transform into great little companions or rosette-winning champions.”

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    Ponies ready to be rehomed include Ant and Perky, young skewbald geldings rescued from Bodmin, who are now ready to be rehomed as companions, and miniature yearling filly Bambola (pictured), who came in as part of a large welfare case.

    “Some people think these ponies have no value. We totally disagree,” Ms Bowden said.

    Anyone interested in rehoming can visit the charity’s website.

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