A trust that rescues unwanted Exmoor ponies has stepped in to save six purebreds who were destined for the slaughterhouse.
The Moorland Mousie Trust, whose work has given a future to more than 500 of the endangered breed, was alerted to the plight of the group, which included pregnant mares, foals, youngsters and a stallion.
The herd was no longer wanted by its owner and was at a dealer’s yard awaiting transport to an equine slaughterhouse.
Although the charity has already taken in nine moor-bred foals this year, it agreed to try and help as many of the ponies as its resources would allow.
After making a tough decision about which ponies it could afford to save, the trust discovered several of the group were already dead.
The 20-year-old charity bought six of the remaining ponies, transporting four foals to its Exmoor Pony Centre to be cared for, while two older mares travelled to Northumberland to join a conservation herd.
Juliet Rogers, trustee of the Moorland Mousie Trust said: “It was a fraught situation with very little time to arrange the ponies being taken into the charity’s care.
“We are pleased that we could help and look forward to offering these ponies a safe and secure future.”
The two mares, who may be in foal, will be able to live out their days in the Northumberland herd, grazing with other older mares.
The piebald was bought as a months-old colt, wild from the moor
A further 14 Exmoor ponies have been released near Prague
The three fillies and one colt will join the group of youngstock at the charity’s base on Exmoor where they will learn all the skills they need for their future lives. They will receive any necessary veterinary treatments and the colt will be gelded.
A statement from the trust, which typically takes in excess foals from the moor, said it “did not usually find itself in this situation” and praised the efforts of “a helpful and speedy haulier, the dealers yard and local supporters” who had enabled the remaining ponies to be saved.
It added that it had spent more than £2,000 on the rescue, and was inviting sponsorship and donations towards the ponies’ care.
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