A yearling colt is recovering at a sanctuary after being dumped on a Welsh hillside where he was attacked by stallions.
The chestnut, who has been named Copper, was spotted by local rider Rhian MacFadden, who posted on social media to see if anyone knew the owner of the young Welsh section A.
When local farmers went to round the pony up off the Synchant Pass, they discovered bite marks all over his body and a festering wound on his dock from where he had been attacked by members of the established Carneddau herd.
Amy Pirie from charity Horse Sense Wirral drove an hour and a half to collect the youngster.
“We had some people tag us on Facebook posts and we agreed that if the local farmers could round him up, we would take him on,” she said.
“When we first saw a video of his injuries we were worried the damage to his tail might be bad enough that it would need amputating, as he just wasn’t moving it, but once it was cleaned up by the vet it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked, and has now almost healed.”
The wild herd living on the mountain is not owned by anyone but is monitored by local farmers who feed hay during harsh winters.
“They met up one evening and went out on their quad bikes to round him up, as they usually do with the herd, but in the end they were just able to put a headcollar on him,” Amy said.
“He’s quite nervous but now he is with us and healing up he is quite full of love and kisses. He lets us handle him but we have to do things slowly.”
While it is only possible to speculate how Copper, who was not microchipped, came to be abandoned on the mountain, Amy believes it could be because he has locking patellas.
“We can only assume whoever owned him thought it was a massive problem, even though those of us who have seen it before know they can come right once they build up muscle,” she said.
“The problem with dumping a pony on Conwy mountain is that even if he had been accepted by the herd, he would never have survived the winter. The population of ponies up there is thought to date back to 500BC, and they have adapted to survive the very changeable weather. The snow they get up there is ridiculous.”
Amy added that now the charity is aware of the population of ponies on the mountain, it plans to offer ongoing support.
“We’ll be helping with the round-up at the beginning of November and then we’ll be sitting down with the farmers to see how we can help in future,” she said.
Copper is currently in a barn at the charity’s Wirral base, paired with another youngster, Bertie, while he recovers from being gelded. He will then be turned out with the “baby” herd at the farm, which is home to 56 horses and ponies.
“Once he is ready he will be rehomed, which could take six months or three years, we don’t let them go until they are ready and we will want to make sure his stifles are OK,” Amy said.
“He’s recovering brilliantly and we can’t thank our vets at Leahurst enough. I called them to say I was bringing a wild pony in at 10.30pm at night when they shut at 6pm and they didn’t charge us livery for him.
“Our vet Luke Edwards is phenomenal — he’s a Welsh lad and he really cares about the horses. When I went to see Copper he was there keeping an eye on him, even though it was his day off.”
'Why was such a low value placed on these beautiful animals?’
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Amy founded the charity in 2009 after rescuing a 33-year-old horse called Herbie, who was emaciated.
“I took him on and then I started getting another phone call and another phone call until we had six horses and we knew if we wanted to carry on we needed to fundraise — and the rest is history!” Amy said.
The charity has rescued more than 128 horses as well as more than 200 small animals to date.
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